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Salvador Orrego de la Borda, agricultural advisor to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Peru:

"Improvements in road infrastructure are needed to make Peruvian exports even more successful"

"The Netherlands is an important player in the field of knowledge transfer in the agricultural sector, also in Peru," says Salvador Orrego de la Borda, agricultural advisor at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Peru. "The seed market, in particular, is led by Dutch companies; however, there is still a lot of room for Dutch technology companies to increase their presence in Peru, especially in storage, cold chain and packaging solutions for fruit and vegetables."

Alexander Kofman (left), Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Peru, and Salvador Orrego de la Borda, agricultural advisor.

The Embassy assists Dutch private companies interested in doing business in Peru, facilitates contact between the respective Ministries and agencies (for example, between the national agricultural health services SENASA and NVWA), and cooperates on specific projects. "Despite being relatively young, the Peruvian fruit and vegetable sector is very large and dynamic, and therefore very attractive for importers of fruit and vegetable products and suppliers of agricultural services and inputs, also from the Netherlands," says Salvador Orrego.

Blueberry harvest.

The private sector's ambition
"The Peruvian fruit and vegetable industry started basically from scratch in the 1990s. In fact, one could say that it was a rebirth after the agrarian reform that took place at the end of the 1960s. Both production and exports have multiplied since the last decade of the last century, thanks mainly to the private sector's efforts and ambition. Peru's great advantages are its suitable climate, relatively low production costs and the quality of its products," says the agricultural consultant.

Banana packaging.

Looking at production and export figures for various Peruvian fruit and vegetable products published on the Faostat website, the world's largest database of food and agricultural statistics, we see that avocado production has increased tenfold between 2000 and 2022, from 83,671 tons in 2000 to 866,456 tons in 2022. Exports of this fruit reached 583,214 tons in 2022, whereas in 2000 they were still insignificant (2,209 tons).

Pomegranate cultivation is expanding in Peru.

The development of the production and exports of many other fruits and vegetables is equally remarkable:

(If the growth percentage is too big due to starting with almost non-existent production or export volumes, the symbol # is used).

Most of the growth in the production is due to the expansion of the acreage, but also partly to the higher yields per hectare. In the case of limes, the yield increased by 20% between 2000 and 2022; in the case of avocados, by 28%; in that of mangoes, by 32%; asparagus are up by 44%; mandarins, by 75%; grapes, by 138%, and blueberries by 420%, according to the figures shared by Faostat.

Avocado production has increased tenfold in the last twenty years.

The strengths of the agro-export sector
Although the private sector has made a significant contribution to the development of the Peruvian fruit and vegetable sector since the 1990s, Salvador Orrego says that the Agrarian Law, which was passed in 2001 and which allowed employers to hire workers with certain tax advantages compared to other sectors, also helped a lot. "The law was abolished four years ago, so the sector is now losing some competitiveness. However, the real strength of the agro-export sector lies in its know-how, its marketing period and its specialization," says the agricultural adviser.

Blueberry field.

"As for asparagus, Peru harvests twice the volumes of many other producing countries, not only because of its suitable climate, but also because of the high degree of specialization of the producers," says Salvador Orrego. The Faostat figures certainly corroborate this statement, since according to official figures for the year 2022, the yield per hectare in Peru stood at 11,536 kilos, considerably higher than the 8,573 kilos of Mexico and much higher than the 7,106 kilos of Belgium and the 5,958 kilos of the Netherlands.

The big challenge is climate change
"However, in many other areas we need to become more efficient, so the import of technology and automation can play an important role in the future, not only in the field, but also in the packing houses. The Netherlands in particular is a major supplier of agricultural technology. One of the biggest challenges we are facing, and which will force us to invest in technology and research, is climate change. Only the companies that are able to adapt to the new reality will survive in the long term," says the agricultural consultant.

In addition to crops with really large production volumes, such as blueberries, bananas, citrus fruits, asparagus, mangoes, avocados and grapes, Peru also has the possibility and the capacity to specialize in the cultivation of some niche products, such as kakis and cherries. "Kakis offer enormous potential, especially for export to countries such as Spain and Japan. And just like Chile has opted for cherry cultivation, because it has sufficient cold hours for the production of this fruit, Peru could expand the acreage devoted to cherries in areas closer to the Andes which have the right conditions."

Better road infrastructures are needed
However, according to Salvador Orrego, to make an export crop successful, adequate infrastructure is needed, including roads from the production areas to the ports. "For many years, major infrastructure works have focused on securing the water supply for agricultural production; now we also need to improve the road infrastructure, especially from inland to the coastal area."

"Dutch agro-food companies interested in doing business in Peru are invited to contact me. We will gladly provide you with all the necessary information on products, regulations and supplying companies in Peru," says the agricultural advisor.

For more information:
Eng. Salvador Orrego de la Borda (Agricultural Advisor)
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Av. Larco 1301, 13th floor
Miraflores, Lima. Peru
Tel.: +51 1 213 98 07
[email protected]

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