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Agriculture in the economy of Bolivia, 1825-1953

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posted on 2023-08-03, 13:06 authored by Alice K. Cullen

Diverse conditions of topography, climate, and soil have given the Republic of Bolivia an extensive variety of agricultural, pastoral, and forest resources. Traditionally agriculture has provided a livelihood for a larger segment of the Bolivian population than any other occupation. In 1950, the last year an official census was conducted, almost two-thirds of the population was classified as rural. Despite its importance to the Bolivian people, agriculture has not been a dynamic institution. The pattern of development in recent years has been virtually the same as that which emerged during the Spanish colonial era in South America. The volume of production as a while has been deficient. It has provided a low level of consumption for the farm population and has failed to keep pace with the growing demands of the urban population. For years the widening gap between production and consumption has been filled by increasing imports even though this process has diverted foreign exchange from other more productive and necessary purposes. At the same time antiquated methods of production have persisted, and rich agricultural lands have remained undeveloped and isolated from national markets because of inadequate transportation systems. The history of Bolivia's agriculture is an explanation of adverse factors which have caused these conditions and the resultant tendencies they have developed. It is the purpose of this study to discuss: (1) what was the background of agricultural development in the new Republic?; (2) what were the structural changes in the agricultural economy?; and (3) what is the present position of Bolivia's agriculture?



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