An unexpected wave of snow, ice and heavy rain has hit Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest agricultural region last week, causing widespread damage to crops and leading to the death of cattle. The cold front extended beyond Santa Cruz, with record-breaking temperatures of -9 °C (15.8 °F) recorded in the north of the country. Notably, temperatures also took a steep dive in the southern wine-producing department of Tarija, a critical area for Bolivia’s winegrowing industry.
A wave of snow and ice, considered rare for the area, has hit Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s foremost agricultural region, causing severe damage to crops and leading to the death of cattle. This rare weather event has left large swaths of the region, known for its production of sorghum, soybeans, and wheat, under a blanket of snow.
Adding to the region’s woes, torrential rains have brought flooding to the valleys of Santa Cruz, forcing road closures, air evacuations, and tragically resulting in one confirmed death.
“The most important thing in this sector is going to be the replacement of seeds and fertilizers… because now much of this production is already insurmountable,” remarked Juan Carlos Calvimontes, the Vice Minister of Civil Defense, highlighting the significant impact of the cold snap on the agricultural industry.
Further signs of the harsh weather’s reach can be found in the neighboring tropical department of Beni, where frost reportedly led to the death of at least 50 head of cattle. In an effort to protect their livestock, families have resorted to creating bonfires near the animals to stave off hypothermia.
1 Bolivia cold snap brings rare snow to tropical farm region – Reuters – June 15, 2023
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