Thursday, May 16, 2013

Peru could become a global supplier of apples, cherries and walnuts

Thanks to its climatic characteristics, Peru could become a world supplier of apples, cherries and walnuts, said Jorge Escobedo, specialist in fruit from the University Agraria La Molina (UNALM).

"Fifteen years ago it would have been crazy to do this type of analysis. However, the global landscape has changed," he said, explaining that since the Peruvian coast isn't exposed to intense cold it can produce deciduous fruit such as pomegranates, grapes and cranberries for export.

In that regard, he pointed out that the coast is also suitable for growing cherries, apples and walnuts, which are other species of the deciduous trees group. "We have the suitable climatic conditions," he reaffirmed.

He said that Peru has the potential for exporting cherries in October and November, a commercial window that would allow Peruvian producers to enter the international market before Argentina and Chile, the major exporters in the Southern Hemisphere.

"We can also grow walnuts. The basis for what I am saying is that these species produce very well in Peru, which has limited hours of cold," he said.

"Before, we were doomed to produce deciduous with a very poor quality because there was a direct relationship between the fruit's quality and the cold hours. Now there are varieties of all the species of deciduous fruit that have an excellent quality and a low requirement of cold. We have varieties that would do very well with the very little cold conditions," he said.

In the case of apples, he said that Peru is developing the Gala variety, one of the most cultivated around the world since 1970. However, he noted that it hasn't been produced extensively so far.

"This variety produces very well even under the central coast's conditions and much better in the Andean Valley's conditions, like in Huancayo," he said, and added that other varieties that could be grown are the Fuji and the Pink Lady. The latter is a patented variety and, according to experts, is the one that will have the most demand in the future.

Finally, he added that the installation of the external market-oriented orchards would increase in Peru. In this regard, he urged producers not to dismiss the domestic market that has around 30 million consumers with a growing purchasing power.

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