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Northern Peru’s productive potential

September 22nd, 2014

At a temperature above 30°C (86°F), Artemio Carmen Chiroque’s farm is the first stop on a European buyers’ mission to Peru organized by the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), in conjunction with the trade fair Expoalimentaria in Lima. 

With a 1.35-hectare plantation, he is one of 169 members of the Association of Alto Piura Valley Mango Growers (Apromalpi) in Chulucanas, Piura, whose farmers ship far and wide to the markets of Europe, the United States and China.

A vineyard in the San Lorenzo Valley.

In its ranks, Apromalpi has producers with such certifications as fairtrade (FLO International), organic and GlobalG.A.P.

Between Chiroque’s trees sprouting mangoes, lemons, cacao, papaya and tamarinds, Apromalpi field manager Fernando Zeña the association promotes crop diversification amongst its growers.

“We aim that [the grower] diversifies their parcel, because mangoes are only there for four months [December to March]. So we have cacao, and lemons which are year-round, as another income. He also has oranges, papayas and tamarinds,”
Zeña says, adding that the incorporation of organic material has led to an improvement in crops.

Since it was formed in 1996, the association has continued to gain experience and improve its organizational capacity in the productive chain, with traceability right from the property to its packhouse – where fruit fly control takes place along with washing and fruit separation by size – all the way to the port of Paita 120km (75mi) away.

He says organic production constitutes the vast majority of production with a share of 90%.

“That doesn’t meant that the [remaining] 10% is conventional, just that it’s in a transition phase,”
he says.

“For the fruit we have to place traps with no class of poison that affects it as organic – that’s prohibited, and you can’t burn, nor cover with fertilizer product.”

For Apromalpi vice president César López, the visit from European buyers is an opportunity for more “brothers” to join the association.

“If more importers come that’s better for us, because we have several brothers who still aren’t members because they don’t have many orders,”
López says.

“It is convenient for us that they come and visit us, so as to be able to sell more fruit in better shape, because there are some exporters who take advantage of small farmers and they pay cheaply. For example, For example, for all of us after the process we have PEN14-15 (US$4.89-5.24) cash for 20 kilos (44 pounds).”

In the field, the group was able to see the fruit set, understand when buds were ripe, view irrigation techniques to keep the soil moist, and how trees performed.

“Each tree can yield 15 to 20 crates, where a crate is equal to 20 [kg, 2.2lbs]…so an average of 350 kilos (772 pounds) per plant,”
López told the visitors, adding that some of Chiroque’s trees could reach up to 35-40 crates.

Click here to see our photo gallery from the visit.

Peruvian grape growth in the San Lorenzo Valley

Also in Piura, the delegation stops in at the Anita Francia property in the San Lorenzo Valley, Tambogrande, where the company Dominus is growing Red Globe grapes.

Dominus project head Fernando Che explains almost all growers produce this kind of grape in the area.

“Tambogrande is a unique valley, with very different soil and hours of sun. We have seven hours of sun daily. This characteristic of San Lorenzo allows you to grow a lighter Red Globe grape than in the Piura Valley where dark Red Globes are grown,” Che explains, adding that Piura also has a more sandy soil.

“San Lorenzo is starting its grape season. While it’s not the main grape-growing zone the area is starting to grow,” Che said, explaining that while Red Globe is the dominant cultivar, some have realized they ought to switch to seedless grapes.

“They’ve realized it shouldn’t be just Red Globe,” Che says.

Dominus began its operations focused on mangoes, in an area that is renowned for the crop with Tambogrande accounting for 70% of Peru’s mango production. The fruit continues on its portfolio to this day, to which grapes and avocados have also been added.

Che says the company has earned the faith of a group of growers with consistent accounts and attractive markets, while also offering consultancy, packing and export services. Dominus’ packhouse just a few kilometers away runs for six to eight months of the year, exporting fruit from Paita to many countries via the Netherlands.

“Everything goes by sea. We have done a little bit by air [in mangoes]. Our strength is by sea,”
he says.

“If we had stayed with just mangoes in Piura we would work three months. Including the three [mangoes, grapes and avocados] we work from September to May-June, and that’s something that not all companies have.

“We have all the certifications for quality in the field such as GlobalG.A.P., and we also have a significant certification in social responsibility. It is important for all markets to know that.”

Organic production

The last stop emphasizes how Peru is certainly not missing out on the buoyant global demand for organic products, with a visit to organic orchards in Chiclayo and Motupe where growers are working in partnership with Peru’s National Agriculture Promoter (PRONATUR).

Passionfruit, mangoes and bananas are key crops grown in these areas, and the delegation also finishes up seeing harvests of the latter – specifically the standard Cavendish variety – as well as its selection, washing and packing to be shipped from Paita to North America.

Further details

The European buyer mission to Peru, organized by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) under the direction of SIPPO, has support from the Chamber of Swiss Commerce in Peru, PromPerú and Germany’s Import Promotion Desk (IPD).

One way Peruvian growers can connect with European buyers is by applying to the SIPPO program, oriented to SMEs with 250-300 employees that seek opportunities in the European market. S-GE/SIPPO helps growers access the European market through the participation of companies – either as individuals, with their own stands or through the PromPeru stand – at Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

Together with its buyers’ mission, S-GE/SIPPO also has a sourcing mission, and the program for fruits and vegetables supports companies in emerging economies to find European buyers for their products, also through participation at Fruit Logistica.

In South America the group is already working in Peru, but is looking for companies in Colombia due to the nation’s potential.

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