Peruvian agriculture minister Juan Manuel Benites Ramos will meet with representatives from the US Department of Agriculture on Thursday to seeks ways of improving market access for Peruvian agricultural products to the US. Among the products being discussed are peppers, papayas, citrus, asparagus, blueberries and mangoes.
Benites noted that fresh peppers and papayas – both of which were recently approved for import by the US authorities – could become important additions to Peru’s export basket. Shipments of fresh peppers are expected to reach 1,200 tonnes in the first year, climbing to 6,000 tonnes in the third year.
In papayas, he said the government would support efforts by growers in the Peruvian Amazon to convert to this crop and planned to launch a fruit fly eradication programme in order to pave the way for exports to the US.
In the case of citrus, Peru is seeking to negotiate access for fruit grown in all parts of the country. At present only citrus from Piura, Lambayeque, Junín, Ica and Lima has permission to enter the US. “In the first year citrus exports from new production areas could reach 12,000 tonnes, rising to 14,000 tonnes equivalent to US$14m by year two ,” Benites Agraria.pe.
The Andean nation is also keen to improve access for fresh blueberries and asparagus. In the case of the former it hopes to secure a deal for fruit to undergo cold treatment at the port of arrival rather than prior to shipment. In the longer term it hopes that production zones will be recognised as free from fruit fly. Blueberry exports to the US currently stand at US$28m a year but could reach US$70m Benites noted.
For asparagus, the government is arguing for shipments to undergo an alternative to the current fumigation, which Benites argued is “almost lethal for the producer”. He said annual exports could reach US$300m if a different treatment option existed.
Finally in mangoes, Peru hopes to gain approval for shipments of larger sized fruit between 650g and 900g.
“This visit is very important because it will open up communication channels with the US, an important market for Peruvian agricultural products, which are increasingly replacing mining as part of the country’s export diversification strategy,” Benites concluded.