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Peru: Fruit Exporting Superpower?

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July 16, 2021

Peru exported fruit worth $3.8 billion in 2020, making Peru one of the top 10 fruit-exporting countries. Chile is the leading Southern Hemisphere fruit exporter, but the value of Peru’s farm exports exceed those of Ecuador and South Africa.

Table grapes are Peru’s most valuable fresh fruit export, and most are from coastal regions in the south around Ica (40 percent) and the north around Piura (20 percent). Water projects allow irrigation, while ideal growing conditions for new and more valuable varieties support investment in production for export. Over 70 percent of the 665,000 tons of table grapes produced in 2020/21 were exported.

China is the leading producer of table grapes, some 11 million tons in 2020/21, but China exported only 420,000 tons compared with 470,000 tons exported from Peru. Chile is the leading fruit exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, and exported 620,000 tons of table grapes in 2020/21.

Peru’s 3 major fruit exports are avocados, table grapes, and blueberries

Peru is a major exporter of blueberries, which are consumed fresh and frozen and used as a food ingredient. There is significant blueberry production in 26 countries, but four countries, the US, Canada, Chile, and Peru, account for 80 percent of global blueberry production.

The big 4 blueberry producing countries are the US, Canada, Chile, and Peru

Peru’s blueberries are concentrated in the northern coastal region of La Libertad, an area eight degrees south of the equator that permits year-round production. Peru exported 125,000 tons of blueberries worth $800 million in 2019, equivalent to a third of US production of 330,000 tons. Most Peruvian blueberries arrive in the US between September and February, while most US blueberries are produced between March and October.

Peru is also a major producer of Hass and Fuerte avocados, some 550,000 tons in 2020, and exports almost all of the Hass avocados that are harvested between April and June. Peru’s avocado exports were worth $750 million in 2020.

Peru also exports mangos, 225,000 tons in 2020, and citrus, 260,000 tons of oranges, lemons and limes, and mandarins. However, most of Peru’s citrus production is consumed domestically, that is, less than five percent of lemons and oranges are exported.

Peru’s export agriculture is concentrated along the arid Costa region that has 11 percent of Peru’s land and 57 percent of Peru’s people. The Sierra mountains and highlands have 31 percent of Peru’s land and 31 percent of Peru’s people, and the eastern Selva lowlands that include the Amazon rain forrest have 60 percent of Peru’s land and three percent of Peru’s people. Three fourths of Peru’s 22 million people live in cities, including 10 million in the state of Callao that includes Lima.

Peru’s coastal strip (yellow) has 11% of the land and 57% of the people

The Costa region has a quarter of Peru’s farm land and accounts for 60 percent of the value of Peru’s farm ouput and is the source of most of Peru’s farm exports. Two major irrigation projects and the sale of 68,000 hectares of land for $45 million between 1997 and 2008 in 30 public auctions stimulated the production of fruits and vegetables for export from the Costa region. The acreage of many fruits and vegetables that are produced for export doubled or tripled over the past two decades.

Peru had 437,000 hectares of fruits and nuts, and 234,000 acres of vegetables, in 2015

Peru had 437,000 hectares of fruits and nuts, and 234,000 acres of vegetables, in 2015
Product Area harvested, (ha) 1995 Area harvested, (ha) 2015 Increase, (ha) Increase, (%) Share of ag GDP, 201
Live animals and animal products   39.6
Agriculture products   60.4
 
Cereals   1,292,036   13.8
Maize 375,197 513,804 138,607 37 4.2
Rice, Paddy 239,453 399,501 169,048 67 8.1
Quinoa 18,729 69,303 50,574 270 0.4
 
Horticulture   234,036   9.0
Asparagus 20,126 33,870 13,744 137 3.6
Artichoke 200 5,513 5,313 2,657 0.4
 
Fruits and Nuts   437,327   11.2
Avocados 6,115 33,989 27,874 456 1.4
Grapes 10,702 26,650 15,948 60 2.7
Mango 7,854 29,733 21,879 279 0.6
Plantain / Banana 69,401 167,839 98,438 142 2.3
 
Legumes   281,011   1.4
Beans, dried 61,920 76,770 14,850 24 0.6
 
Sugars   119,019   2.4
Sugar crops 59,603 84,574 24,971 42 1.9
 
Roots and Tubers   495,892   9.1
Potatoes 188,531 316,535 128,004 68 6.7
Cassava 51,791 101,453 49,662 96 1.3
 
Stimulant crops and species   505,771   5.6
Cocoa 36,324 120,374 84,050 231 1.4
Coffee 164,230 379,189 214,959 131 3.8
 
Oils seeds   68,115   1.0
Oil palm 5,188 43,140 37,952 732 0.7
 
Others   167,454   6.7
Cotton 123,681 26,711 -96,970 -78 0.6

Peru has a growing speciality and organic coffee industry. Most Peruvian coffee is from small farms that have less than five hectares. Some 223,000 families and 1.5 million workers are involved in coffee production, and many were able to become organic producers because they could not afford fertilizer. Government-organized coffee buying firms collapsed during the Shining Path insurgency of the 1980s, and NGOs helped Peruvian coffee farmers to win fair-trade certification and higher prices.

Peru’s major coffee growing areas are shifting from Junin in the central highlands to the north

References

USDA FAS. 2021. Peru’s Fruit Sector Races to New Heights

World Bank. 2017. Gaining Momentum in Peruvian Agriculture: Opportunities to Increase Productivity and Enhance Competitiveness.


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