Peru: Greening the desert
Agriculture and Food
Deprived of rain, the Peruvian coastal zone is a desert with sand dunes and mostly absent of vegetation. Advance Consulting supported the development of a range of projects greening the Peruvian desert. The moon-like landscape, which at first sight appears totally hostile to any kind of cultivation, is thereby increasingly coloured by plantations of asparagus, pomegranate, melon, sweet potato and cut flowers.
Climate conditions in the Peruvian coastal zone are very stable and, relatively close to the equator, favourable to year-round horticultural production. Water running down from the Andean mountains through rivers and subsurface streams is the source of life that makes horticulture possible. Drip irrigation is used to efficiently deliver water and added nutrients to the crop. Projects that have been undertaken in this context include:
In Chincha, Fundo Doña Pancha planted its first 5 ha of asparagus in 2004 on coastal land, which had been abandoned due to salinity. The company rehabilitated the land through a smart combination of irrigation and drainage and today cultivates 300 ha of asparagus for export to Europe and North America, employing hundreds of people.
In Ica, Roots Peru has planted a range of cut flowers that thrive well in desert conditions, requiring only a minimum of water. These ‘desert flowers’ are now enjoyed by consumers worldwide.
At Huaral, north of Lima, ITN is working with contract farmers to plant pomegranates of the Wonderful variety. The fruit trees are developing above expectation; already two years after planting, the trees started to bear fruit and, since then, many containers of pomegranate have been shipped to Europe.
Further north, close to Chiclayo, Southern Cross has planted sweet potato grown in rotation with melon, in cooperation with outgrowers. Sweet potato is widely grown in Peru for domestic consumption but through this project, the country’s first export-oriented production was established.
All of the above private sector investments were complemented with additional grant funding, obtained with the assistance of Advance Consulting. In one case, Advance Consulting arranged a long-term loan from the Belgian development bank BIO Invest. Additionally, Advance Consulting facilitated the acquisition of a loan from Dutch development bank FMO to establish 200 ha of mandarin plantations near Chincha.
Please contact Peter Bleeker for more information on the above-mentioned projects carried out with the assistance of Advance Consulting.
Peruvian desert, Peru
Grants and loans