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Peru: Horticultural exports grew by 18% in September

The agricultural sector's non-traditional exports amounted to U.S. $940 million in September despite the country's slowdown, according to the latest report from the Association of Peru's Agricultural Producers Guild (AGAP). This figure represents an 18% increase in exports and differs from the expectations of the Association of Exporters (ADEX), which forecasts a generalized and specific 3.5% decrease for the sector at the end of the year.

AGAP reported an increase in export volumes; 650,619 net tonnes, 11.3 % more than in 2012, would have been shipped by early October.

Ana Maria Deustua, AGAP's general manager, estimated that this growth would be sustained in the remainder of the year. Thus, there would be a growth on the export of fruits and vegetables between 18 and 20% by the end of 2013 compared to the 1,262 million dollars earned in 2012.

The sector's activity levels are due to the slight recovery of the North American and European markets. "By September, shipments to the U.S. grew by 22.4 % over the previous year and those to the European Union behaved similarly with 17.2%," said Deustua.

The increase is also explained by the production of asparagus, which rose both in price and volume. In September, asparagus exports billed 278.3 million dollars, 25.3% more than in the same period in 2012. The exported net tonnes of this vegetable, which begins its peak period this month, also rose 6.2%.

Avocados were worth 33% more than last year: 179.44 million dollars, accompanied by a 36.9% rise in export volume.

"This is because we started growing it in the mountains, so its season was extended to February. Also, we are the only country who supply avocado at that time of year," noted Deustua, predicting that due to this fact and because of the beginning of the grape and tangerine seasons, there would be growth during the first quarter of 2014.

This growth would be maintained throughout 2014 due to the entry into new Asian markets and to the irrigation projects that have been approved that will expand the areas of crops in over 20,000 hectares.

Finally, shipments to the region fell 3%, with a turnover of just $24 million in the year. "Specifically, fresh fruit exports to South America only amounted to $9 million dollars, almost 20% less than last year. This is because, despite the existence of free trade agreements, exporters have found strong phytosanitary controls," said Deustua.


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