The first ever business forum for organic banana producers organised by Promperú in Piura last week generated an estimated US$13m in new business for local producers according to foreign trade and tourism minister and president of Promperú Magali Silva.
Seventeen growers took part in the event, along with buyers from South Korea, the US and Switzerland who also had the opportunity to visit farms and packhouses during their visit.
“Organic bananas play an important role in the leadership that Peru is attaining as a global producer of fruits and vegetables this is the reason why we organised the first business round table in Piura, the results of which were excellent and will encourage us to continue positioning this product on international markets,” Silva said.
The regional government of Piura recently announced detail of a US$2.5m in a scheme to provide training to local organic banana producers to help them increase productivity levels and boost their profitability.
Regional governor Reynaldo Hilbck said it was vital to safeguard the industry which has become a major employer in the region over the past 15 years.
“The best way to protect growers is to help them produce more and this requires the transfer of technologies, new varieties, new working methods and more care,” he said. “Raising productivity is all about minimising losses and producing more efficiently.”
Hilbck said the regional government would also be investing in infrastructure projects such as road improvements, water supplies and port upgrades, all of which would bring further cost reductions for producers.
Piura’s organic banana industry emerged at the turn of the 21st century when local producers decided to abandon rice and corn production in favour of more profitable alternatives. The state initially certified 200ha in a pilot project and such was its success that planted area grew rapidly. There are currently around 7,000ha under production, providing direct employment for more than 7,000 families and a further 20,000 indirect jobs.
Exports for the first nine months of 2015 stood at US$108m, a 24.2 per cent rise on the same period last year. This was mainly due to a steep rise in sales to the US (+71 per cent) and South Korea, where sales have more than doubled compared to 2014.