Northern Peru turns to China for fruit, vegetable exports

World Today

Northern Peru turns to China for fruit, vegetable exports

In northern Peru, a valley region is turning itself into an agricultural powerhouse. The region is producing fruit and vegetables for global markets, especially China.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

Peru turns to China for fruit and vegetable exports

In northern Peru, a valley region is turning itself into an agricultural powerhouse. The region is producing fruit and vegetables for global markets, especially China. CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

Peru is among one of the world’s biggest producer of asparagus.

To increase capacity, Peru is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a normally desert region in the northern part of the country.

Olmos is now at the leading edge of Peru’s agricultural boom.

The region is part of Peru’s largest irrigation project, watering an area of 400 square kilometers with the help of a 20 kilometer tunnel drilled under the Andres Mountains.

“It may well be a big investment but this area allows for a high level of production at low cost at a time when there are not a lot of available products on the market. We have the quantity when prices are high, that makes this business profitable. Of course we aim to get all the necessary certificates to access the most important global markets,” Agro Vision Executive Director Juan Jose Gal’Lino said.

Harvesting in the region during the northern hemisphere’s off-season is what gives Peru’s agricultural business an upper-hand.

And one of the largest market importing Peruvian vegetables is China. Consumers in China are likely to pay up to 30 percent more for larger blueberries, avocadoes and citrus fruits.

With increased demand from international buyers, comes the need for more workers.

“Working in agriculture is the least qualified job. It’s an economic activity which, I believe, will help Peru beat poverty,” Gal’Lino said.

Workers in this region earn Peru’s minimum wage, which is $10 per day. However, locals still complain big business has been the beneficiary of the investments, not local residents.

“The local farmer has not benefitted at all. The Olmos project is just for the rich because the local farmers have not gained even a drop of water nor a centimeter of land,” Olmos resident Juan Mio Sanchez said.

Despite local concerns, leaders in Peru say investment in the project will continue.