Bolivia bans beef exports amid supply fears, rising prices

By Daniel Ramos

LA PAZ, April 22 (Reuters) - Bolivia has temporarily banned exports of beef in order to guarantee supply for its domestic market and to prevent prices from rising, the government said on Thursday.

"We are suspending meat exports," Minister of Rural Development and Lands Remmy Gonzales told reporters, adding the government would ensure no Bolivian "suffered from hunger."

"What is being done is, firstly, to guarantee the internal supply and then what we have in surplus we can export," Gonzales said.

The rise in the price of beef, considered a staple for Bolivian families, has generated tension in recent days between wholesalers and retailers and has led union leaders to warn that it could lead to strikes and markets closures.

Bolivia has the capacity to export about 8,000 tonnes of beef, mainly to other markets around the Andean region and increasingly in recent years to China, government data show.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Diane Craft)

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