According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Global El Niño phenomenon together with the effects of climate change, which are already noticeable in Arequipa where 70% of Peru's garlic production is concentrated, could put the production of this staple food at risk. In fact, as Daniel Lozada, the president of the Arequipa Agricultural Society (SADA) stated, the availability of water in the region has decreased significantly.
"Water availability in Majes Siguas 1 and in the lower part of the Colca River has decreased by 40%, just like the Chili River basin. The Chili Valley's water availability has also decreased by 40%. The agricultural and livestock areas are dry. The rivers are dry. The Tambo River has no water. The situation of agricultural production in the Tambo, Siguas, Majes, and Camaná rivers is terrible."
Lozada also spoke about a pest problem that affects crop production due to low temperatures and water shortages in regulated areas of Arequipa. "As a result of the high temperatures, soil fungi proliferate and attack the planted garlic, gradually killing its root."
Dieter Fritz Klauer, in charge of the Garlic Project, carried out by the Regional Management of Agriculture, managed by the Regional Government of Arequipa, confirmed the expansion of pests due to the effects of the global El Niño phenomenon.
"The 1 to 2 degrees increase in temperatures has led to the appearance of pests such as Thrips, an insect that lodges in the leaves of garlic and spiders, wilting them. If it's not controlled, it could cause economic damage to the sector."
The low production is not only due to pests, he said, but also to climate change. "The garlic is ripening but it's not forming the bulb that is required. The crops are producing smaller bulbs and that affects the market because they requested large sizes." This could also affect prices, he stated.