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Peruvian agriculture after the coastal El Niño
As expected by farmers, the coastal El Niño left the reservoirs and groundwater tables at full capacity; and the soils rich with nutrients from different landslides and floods.
The availability of these two resources explains why producers have higher sowing expectations for the next crop season. According to a survey carried out by the Minister of Agriculture (Minagri), the areas of 24 transitional crops are expected to increase by 8.6% to some 2.3 million hectares.
The planting of some vegetables, such as squash, will be encouraged by a 50% price increase in the last year (S / 0,94 / kg), stated economist Christian Garay, of the Minagri. There will also be an increase in the area devoted to tomato, carrot, olluco tubers, cassava, and grains, the internal consumption of which is expected to be promoted by the agricultural portfolio since April.
Paprika and garlic will grow due to the demands of the external market, according to Paulov Sifuentes, the commercial manager of Sol de Olmos, which exports them. The record price (US $ 3.80 / 10 kilos) recorded for the first time last season (due to the lower volumes there were because of El Niño) would encourage farmers' expectations, despite their financial fragility. Meanwhile, garlic has better positioned itself in the United States after the Donald Trump administration imposed a 200% tariff on the garlic of Chinese origin, he added.
The expectations for the planting of sweet potatoes follows the same trend, with a 22% expansion this campaign, covering 17 thousand hectares. The decapitalization generated by El Niño would lead farmers to opt for this crop, as it requires a low investment (3,000 to 4,000 soles), stated Garay.
In turn, Juan Carlos Paredes, the general manager of Agricola Pampa Baja, said Peru could become a supplier of sweet potatoes for the United States in the counter season, as consumers are eating this tuber more and more in place of potato because of its higher fiber content.
"Since this crop is very similar to potato crops, agronomic management may be easier in Peru because of the experience of our agronomists growing potatoes. Producers just have to start each year with virus-free materials and learn how to manage its post harvest," he added.
Publication date: 10/19/2017
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