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Gabriel Amaro, president of AGAP:

"We are not lacking optimism, because Peru is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world"

AGAP, the Association of Agricultural Producer Guilds of Peru, was founded in 2003 by Peru's private agricultural sector. The idea was to bring together producing, processing, marketing and exporting companies in order to address industry-wide issues in an institutional manner. Since then, in just over 20 years, the organization has managed to support the agricultural sector in its rapid development to become the world leader in the export of blueberries and organic bananas, second in the export of avocados, asparagus, artichokes and mandarins, third in mango, and fourth in grapes.

"At that time, there were several agricultural organizations, but none of them represented the entire sector," says Gabriel Amaro, president of AGAP. AGAP works hand in hand with associations such as ProCitrus, ProArándanos, Provid and ProHass, each specialized in different agricultural products, to improve their competitiveness and expand the markets for the agricultural sector and thus generate employment and wealth for the country.

Gabriel Amaro, president of AGAP, and Nicole Zurita Ríos, head of the Department of Economic Studies and Markets at AGAP.

Privileged interlocutor with the Peruvian Government
According to its president. AGAP aims to secure the right conditions and legal framework for the sector's growth and development, not only for exports, but also for domestic sales. The organization acts as a privileged interlocutor with the Peruvian Government on various issues, such as proposals for laws to improve the sector's competitiveness, discussions about free trade agreements with other countries, or the improvement of infrastructure for the sector's benefit.

As for the latter, AGAP is involved in the promotion of various large-scale irrigation projects, of which there are currently nine along the entire coast covering a total of 400,000 hectares, including the Chavimochic project, which is the oldest and most well-known. "Peru is one of the top 10 countries in the world with the most fresh water," says the president. "However, the water supply is still a challenge, because we are really lacking infrastructure, and the fact is that this productive and agro-export boom started on the coast, which is a desert area."

AGAP's efforts in the field of infrastructure also go to promoting works aimed at streamlining logistics, since highways, railways, airports and seaports are needed for the horticultural productions to reach both the domestic and the export markets. "The port of Chancay, for example, will allow us to reach Asia with a 30% saving in time and logistical costs. Unfortunately, this decades-long process of sector growth and development has not been accompanied by political stability. In the last seven years alone, Peru has had six presidents. Fortunately, this current government is already taking up various issues for the development of our sector and the country," says Gabriel Amaro.

Extension of the Agricultural Promotion Law
At the legislative level, the organization managed to push for the extension of the Agricultural Promotion Law for another ten years in 2019. "The challenge is making our agricultural products competitive, as we are not the only ones in the world supplying fruits and vegetables to international markets. We compete with the entire Southern Hemisphere, and sometimes with countries from the Northern Hemisphere. One of the tools to improve the competitiveness of our productions is the Agricultural Promotion Law," says Nicole Zurita Ríos, head of Economic Studies and Markets. "In addition to providing sustainability to the modern sector, the Agricultural Law brings unity to the vast number of small producers in Peru."

Also at an institutional level, AGAP works together with SENASA, the National Agricultural Health Service of Peru, to promote access to new markets, and with Promperu, a government agency for the promotion of Peruvian exports. "While free trade agreements aim to remove access tariffs, phytosanitary regulations remain. That is the focus of SENASA's work, which we back with our knowledge of the sector. At this time, we are seeking our chances in several markets, including Turkey, India and Hong Kong," says Gabriel Amaro.

Presence at major international fairs
When it comes to the promotion of horticultural products in already opened foreign markets, AGAP, as a private association, collaborates with the government organization Promperu, especially at major international fairs, including Fruit Logistica, Asia Fruit Logistica and Fruit Attraction, where the Peruvian pavilion is managed by AGAP. "At the AGAP stand, we provide interested buyers with a list of all relevant Peruvian producing and exporting companies, regardless of whether they are associated with AGAP or not. Outside the fairs, any interested company is also always welcome to contact us to receive more information about Peruvian productions, the sector and its companies."

Advances in field productivity and automation in warehouses
In the foreign market, AGAP maintains relationships with various associations and producer groups from many countries, addressing issues of common interest. "In summary, we represent the Peruvian agricultural sector within Peru and abroad, addressing labor and sustainability issues within the OECD, the ILO, the WTO and the World Bank. Peru has signed many agreements with the ILO, since we are convinced that workers should have all their labor rights guaranteed. While this approach reduces the sector's competitiveness compared to other countries, especially due to the higher minimum wage, we try to offset this disadvantage with increased productivity in the field, in handling warehouses and in logistics. One of Peru's advantages is its good crop management techniques and its advances in automation in fruit and vegetable packing warehouses, where more and more cutting-edge optical sorting lines are being implemented," says Nicole Zurita Ríos.

With the goal of increasing efficiency in the field and in handling centers, one of AGAP's roles is the technical education of workers. "We are trying to promote our own institute within AGAP. It's worth recalling that Peru, which is currently one of the world's most important agricultural producers, has only just started. We have just over 20 years of experience and the potential is still really great. It is likely that in the next 20 years fruit exports could even double, not only for already established products, such as asparagus, blueberries, grapes and avocados, but also for new products, like pithayas, cherries, kakis and Ica pecans. We are not lacking optimism, because Peru is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world," says Gabriel Amaro.

For more information:
Gabriel Amaro (President)
Nicole Zurita Ríos (Head of Economic Studies and Markets)
AGAP (Association of Agricultural Producer Guilds of Peru)
Calle 21 Nro 713 Of. 406 Urb. Córpac
San Isidro Lima, L27, Peru
Tel.: +51 1 592 123
[email protected]
[email protected]

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