Peru and Bolivia: the agricultural superpowers of the future
The agrifood industries in Peru and Bolivia are essential economic drivers, each with a unique set of opportunities, needs and challenges. Access Latin America has described them for you in two fact-finding studies, commissioned by the Dutch embassy and RVO.
Peru’s fresh export is a tenfold of what it used to be 15 years ago. This tremendous growth requires fast technological development in growing, processing and logistics. The country provides opportunities for both fresh traders and technology providers. In Bolivia you can find opportunities in new developments of high value crops, preservation of fruit and food processing. Bolivia’s major challenges where help and knowledge is most needed are: improving yields, dealing with climate change and making agricultural production more sustainable.
Peru’s fresh export has reached a value of over 2 billion euros, a tenfold of what it used to be 15 years ago. Peru is the largest exporter of asparagus in the world, the second largest exporter of avocados and the 5th in table grapes. This tremendous growth requires fast technological development in growing, processing and logistics. The country provides opportunities for both fresh traders and technology providers.
Over the last decade Peruvian export of fresh fruit and vegetables and other high value crops experienced a strong growth. A suitable climate, favourable geography and positive economic circumstances contributed to a fast upscaling and professionalization in production. Peru nowadays has a diversified offer of agricultural export products among which are asparagus, avocados, grapes, mangoes, mandarins, (organic) bananas, blueberries, quinoa, coffee and cocoa. The country also expects further development in new products such as cherries, kiwis and pistachios. Peru’s progressing integration in the world trade as well as its national market growth and a professionalizing agricultural sector generate opportunities in the upcoming years.
The supply chain for exportable products is relatively well developed, although there are notable differences in the level of development between the top agricultural exporters, SME companies and a great number of small and microscale farmers. While the largest corporations have invested in valuable irrigation technology, their own nurseries and highly automated sorting and packing, a vast majority only has access to part of this type of technology or none at all. However, the leading companies set the example and inspire other businesses to improve their standards according to their capacities. Current and future challenges that the sector faces can be identified in water resources, institutional development, knowledge & education, informality, human resources and infrastructure/logistics.
Read more in the Factfinding Horticulture Peru
While mining and gas revenues decreased in recent years, the agricultural sector remains a very valuable economic driver for Bolivia. It is a sector in which opportunities are endless, but with deviant local circumstances and the typical challenges of a country in development.
You can find opportunities in new developments of high value crops, preservation of fruit and food processing, but it is with Bolivia’s major challenges where help and knowledge is most needed: improving yields, dealing with climate change and making agricultural production more sustainable.
Santa Cruz is the centre of agricultural development, especially in commodity crops as well as commercial livestock. The different agro industries in this region are well established in branch and producers organisations that execute projects and work closely together with their members. The open business mentality and entrepreneurial motivation are positive characteristics for the promotion of potential cooperation.
Soybean is the leading commercial crop, dominating the agro production as well as the export (mostly soybean oil and oil cake). Other relevant crops include sugar cane, maize, wheat, sorghum and sunflower, each playing a significant role in different agro-food or feed value chains in Bolivia.
Bolivia’s potential is large thanks to the abundance of fertile lands and different climate zones. Nevertheless, Bolivia still lacks competitiveness due to low yields. On one hand, transgenic crops and quality seed have not been adopted as much as in neighbouring countries. On the other hand, poor agricultural practices, monocrops and excessive usage of agrochemicals result in soil erosion. In the meantime, the need for proper water management and irrigation has become a national priority, especially after the drought in 2016.
Crops such as maize and soybean are important feed ingredients for Bolivia’s livestock, and indirectly for meat and dairy products. Larger companies try to maintain grip on the inputs by having their own storage and feed production. However, further down the chain they are still subject to an underdeveloped infrastructure and cold chain.
Read more in the Factfinding Agrofood Bolivia