Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palmitos

Another visit we made during our trip to the Chapare was to a local factory where they pack palmitos: hearts of palm. These are grown in fields out back (which we also toured), and then brought into the factory where they are processed and canned for export, mostly to other Latin American nations. This is one of the few successful cases of alternative development in the Chapare - local farmers were convinced to give up growing coca about 8 years ago, and in return got a stake in this enterprise, which has since flourished (though the global economic crisis is impacting its income at present). I suppose it is a sign of the deindustrialization of the North that this was my first-ever visit to a factory. It was the cleanest, nicest-smelling place in Bolivia that I had ever visited.

Before entering the facility, we were all made to dress up in protective gear, though whether to protect us or the palmitos was unclear (probably the latter, given that everyone in Bolivia seems to think that gringos are invariably carrying swine flu). So we all dressed up like doctors and headed in for our tour.

Fun fact: The name "Chapare" comes from "ancha para," or mucha lluvia (lots of rain) in Quechua.

3 comments:

Carolyn said...
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brett said...
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jerry said...
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