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Tuesday, November 25

Peruvian asparagus hits the big time

Fresh from Peru: "Blessed with low labor costs, a special exemption from U.S. import duties and an ideal climate that produces high yields and allows harvesting year-round, Peruvian asparagus growers are on their way to putting U.S. farmers out of business. While the rise of Peruvian asparagus has proved a boon to U.S. consumers and Peruvian farmers and their workers, it illustrates how free trade has both its winners and losers. There were 18,920 asparagus farms in Peru in 2002, according to the government, in the coastal states of La Libertad, Ancash, Lima and Ica. In all, the asparagus industry employs 50,000 workers." Miami Herald Another crop that holds potential for export income and rural development, at least on the coast. I can remember 20 years ago speaking to development experts who said that this was the direction to go for Peru, but the market environment was not right -- subsidies and title constraints meant that farmers kept growing sugar, which is water intensive.

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