Peru: “Piura has become famous for the quality of its produce”
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“The asparagus business isn’t over”
Fernando Cilloniz, the regional governor of Ica, arrived in Piura yesterday to close the International Agro Symposium (Siagro Norte) that took place in the city from May 23 to 25. He said that being there, he realized how different these lands were compared to how the news depicted them, as they seem to be determined to show the northern city as a place devastated and plagued by Dengue. The truth, however, is different. “Piura has become known worldwide for the quality of its production, and it is a star of the Peruvian agricultural exports,” he said.
He said that other economic sectors, such as mining, industry, and construction might face a crisis, but that this wouldn’t happen to the agricultural sector. “The price of coffee can drop, but the prices of the rest of our products increase compensating for our coffee, which used to be our main agricultural export product; today it’s not, now it’s the asparagus, the avocado. We export almost 6 billion dollars a year, in the 90s we didn’t even export 300 million dollars a year,” he said.
Speaking about the major current crops, Cilloniz referred, particularly to asparagus. “People say that this business is over every year. That’s false,” he stated. He then said that Ica produced 120 thousand tons of fresh asparagus worth $120 million dollars (600 million dollars in total exports), making Peru the world’s leading exporter of this product.
The governor also stated that they were searching for new lands to plant asparagus in Ica, and that there still was much precarious agriculture that should be modernized. He also pointed out that it was paradoxical that the added value of asparagus was its fresh condition, as canned asparagus was worth much less.
Regarding table grapes, he said that the sector wasn’t experiencing a crisis, but that it had its ups and downs. “I spoke to some nurseries here that produce grapes and they said they were doing very well. The Peruvian nurseries are the best source for predicting growth and I believe that we’ll have grown in grapes, avocado, citrus fruits, and blueberries,” he said.
Regarding the avocado, he said prices were currently high, which fits perfectly into the trend for healthy products caused by as the European aging and the obesity crisis in North America, which has led large numbers of people to change their consumption habits. Another factor is the emergence of massive middle classes in other places, such as China, where the poor stop eating rice, a low priced product, and start consuming fruits and vegetables. He explained that, for example, avocado prices continue to rise, even when there is a higher offer.
In the case of blueberries, he said they had achieved spectacular numbers in a short time, even though they had had some problems with late producers. Despite this, the product is undergoing a boom and has a great future in the Peruvian agricultural exports.
He also ruled out a crisis in citrus and said that the pomegranates had a lot of room to grow, as well as the mango from Piura, which is consolidated itself in the market. Meanwhile, he forecast a stormy future for coffee, as prices are erratic and the sector has failed to recover since 2011 when exports peaked at 1,600 million dollars.
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