Made in Bolivia: Thinking local
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Made in Bolivia: Thinking local

Buy local.

This is the heart of the “Made in Bolivia” movement, a government-supported campaign aiming to promote the domestic consumption of Bolivian goods and services, increase jobs, economic growth and eliminate contraband, which the National Chamber of Industry (NCI) launched again on December 3.

Again, you ask? Established in 2001, the slogan, “Consume our own- Made in Bolivia- Employ our own,” aims to increase economic growth by promoting the valorization and consumption of national Bolivian products.

Created to combat the economic crisis of the same year, the economic initiative was originally launched by the Departmental Chamber of Industry of Cochabamba. The logo serves to identify national, high quality goods and services to promote economic development. Newer and more modern, the design has improved slightly since ’01, complementing the relaunch with a new marketing campaign.

Think local

The idea remains to promote national consumption and avoid purchasing contraband products. Bolivian companies can offer higher quality goods and services, increase sales volume at faster rates and create more jobs, if nationals help mitigate the quantity of contraband items. In 2014, contraband food products smuggled over the border with Argentina and Brazil included alcoholic drinks – mainly beer and wine- according to market research conducted by EuroMonitor International.

Choosing to buy local, national products instead of contraband items could have doubled our economic growth in 2015, according to president Evo Morales, La Razón reports.

About 200 Bolivian businesses have registered to join the national movement to strengthen the economy since the relaunch, according to Minister of Productive Development and Plural Economy Veronica Ramos. Of these businesses, about 105 have received certificates approving the use of the seal on their products, General Manager of the NCI, Marcelo Rubin de Celis confirmed.

Using the logo and seal on national products demands compliance with minimum quality requirements, however, this set of conditions is still unclear. A draft regulation to address these conditions has been created, which needs to be validated by all productive actors, guilds and chambers, according to the Vice Minister of Domestic Trade and Exports Oscar Sandy, Bolivia en tus manos reports.

A wider good

Buying locally sourced products is a fundamental aspect of the new Bolivian economic model, which links national consumption with public investment expenditures, like hydrocarbons, airlines and the building of roads and bridges, according to information provided by the Ministry of Finance and Economics.

Buying local is a global trend, proven to improve the local economy. In the U.S. for example, the buy local movement may inspire you to shop small, stocking up on organic fruits and vegetables from your nearest farmers’ market on Sundays.

Yet, there is a key difference between the Bolivian and American buy local movements. “Made in Bolivia” is an economic initiative designed to promote the consumption of domestic products and the creation of domestic jobs while eliminating the contraband of food products.

Here in Bolivia, the point is not so much to buy fresh and organic vegetables, as it is to buy national wine from the local market, instead of contraband Argentinean wine smuggled over the border.

See also:

Potatoes and coca: the end to Bolivia’s financial worries?