LA PAZ – Dairy farmers of the La Paz highlands rejected Saturday the possible nationalization of the Planta Industrializadora de Leche (PIL) Andina, an affiliate of Peru’s Gloria Group, the biggest producer of milk products in Bolivia.
The representative of the Leche del Altiplano (Ledal SA), Victor Clares, said on television channel ATB that this sector has declared itself “in emergency” after the announcement that the Evo Morales administration could nationalize the dairy firm.
“We won’t accept for any reason (the nationalization of PIL Andina), we are in a state of emergency. If that happens...I believe we’re going to be in a battle with the government,” Clares said.
The minister of productive development and plural economy, Antonia Rodriguez, said this week they are analyzing whether to nationalize the firm in order to “benefit Bolivians,” following the request made in that regard by the Irrigators Federation, a union in the central region of Cochabamba that backs the Morales government.
According to local media, the general manager of PIL Andina, Omar Vallejo, considers that there are no reasonable arguments for nationalizing the company.
The Gloria Group privatized the PIL company in 1996 with an investment of $8 million, and currently has plants in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.
The Peruvian group owns 90 percent of PIL shares, while the other 10 percent are owned by Ledal SA, which has 5,000 dairy farmers in the La Paz provinces of Omasuyos, Los Andes, Ingavi, Aroma and Murillo.
The Morales administration is currently involved in a legal battle with a Peruvian company over the 2008 nationalization of the Compañia Logistica de Hidrocarburos Bolivia (CLHB), which was owned by the Graña y Montero Group of Peru and Germany’s Oil Tanking firm.