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Eduardo Zegarra, Grade researcher

"The coast of Peru shouldn't produce potatoes"

Did potato prices really fall because of an overproduction? A lot of specialists seem to agree on that point, but Eduardo Zegarra, Grade's lead researcher, believes there's a factor that people haven't taken into consideration. 

Based on the analysis of information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri), he said, the real problem was some valleys from the coast produced a lot of tubers in the months of December, January and February, which practically left all of the central mountain range's production without a market, as that is the period of time that they enter the market. 

"That knocked down the price paid to the producers from the central highlands. As a matter of fact, it's worth noting prices for wholesalers in the wholesale market didn't change much, they didn't fall," he said. 

According to the specialist, in this a scenario a highly productive region, such as the coast, competes with the a region that has more logistical and productive difficulties, the highlands, and quickly destroys the market. 

"This has already happened. It happened with quinoa recently, the coast started to produce quinoa and destroyed the highland's productivity and production. These differences in productivity and heterogeneity must be handled differently; we require the State and the public entities coordinate and define goals. The coast should not be producing potatoes in the most expensive and irrigated lands in Peru, and they probably shouldn't produce quinoa." 

He also said that this commercial dynamic can be defined by the market itself, but that he considered it fundamental for the State to propose guidelines and regulations so that the system can work.


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