Ministry of Agriculture and irrigation – Jose Luis Rabines: DIA-General Agricultural Direction

“Currently, we have a closer interaction with the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, which is good, but it should be even tighter.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and irrigation was created in 1942 during the middle of World War II, with the goal of studying the individual characteristics of the Peru’s three main geographical regions: The coast, the highlands, and the rainforest taking into account its condition of being one of the most biodiverse countries anywhere in the world. Today, its focused on agriculture, use of lands, forestry and hydric resources, flora and fauna, irrigation, cattle, sanitation, and Research and development. Its vision is:

“By 2021 (Bicentennial year of Peru’s independence) Peru will have a prosperous and competitive agricultural sector, fully inserted in the international market, known for its productivity and the quality of its products.”

The way to reach this goal is by firstly achieving sustainability by the design and implementation of policies of development for agrarian businesses and family agriculture, and by the provision of quality goods and services. Increasing the agrarian productivity and the competitive insertion to the markets. Strengthening the intergovernmental and intersectoral governance in the agrarian sector, supporting the services for the national producers, the value chains for the products, promoting research, promoting the use of technologies, and financial tools. This with a public-private focus, with a systematic information system that ensures productive diversification and sustainability.

For Jose Luis Rabines DIA – (From the General Agriculture Direction) the Ministry is on a good track to achieve those goals through its organizing small and medium farmers and preparing them to be ready to export in cooperation with the private sector. Additionally, they are implementing many programs to achieve these goals, among them we can find ServiAgro, a platform of agriculture services with the collaboration of the private sector, and AgroJoven, an initiative that involves universities to improve the agrarian capacities of students and alumni in a coordinated fashion.

With regards to the organization of small and medium farmers, some of them are already organized and can offer quality products. For the ones that haven’t started the process yet, it could take the Ministry about 4 or 5 years to get everything organized and implemented including teaching farmers the basics of the market and certain tax considerations, about necessities and processes, and giving them access to more advanced machinery. They also have a necessity to provide information about phytosanitary issues and plagues.

Some of the products they are helping develop are: quinoa, canihua, purple corn, giant Cuzco corn, kiwicha, and maca. There are many farmers ready to export in cooperation with the private sector, despite there existing well over 100 exporters, most of them are not interested in working with these farmers or helping to develop a sustainable model that will be positive for everyone in the long term.

In relation to the programs mentioned, ServiAgro acts as a platform of agrarian services of technical assistance and training, focused on small and medium farmers and families who dedicate themselves only to farming. Its geared towards the promotion of providers of specialized services, both public and private. Contributing to the formation of markets of agrarian services that ensure provision in a continuous way, attending the needs of producers, with a focus on results and value generation.

The other program mentioned is AgroJoven, coordinated with national universities as strategic partners and with the INIA: (Instituto Nacional de Inovación Agraria) ‘National Institute of Agrarian Innovation.’.

AgroJoven is focused on the young to increase the agricultural knowledge of students and alumni in the agricultural sector. The objective is that in the future they could develop entrepreneurs that offer services and generate investments in this sector.  In its first year 300 students participated, studying subjects such as agrarian sciences, agroindustrial engineering, biology and ecology.

To go beyond these programs, Jose Luis Rabines believes that the Ministry of Agriculture should work closer to Ministry of Commerce and Tourism. Nowadays they have a closer interaction, such as in the development of international events and fairs which is a good first step in the right direction, however, the relation should be tighter, and they should go beyond the simple match-making role of linking producers with exporters.