This blog post was written by CCAFS Theme Leader Andy Jarvis for CIAT's blog.
This is the scene of a booming organic banana business which is competing with the Dominican Republic to deliver organic bananas to environmentally conscientious consumers in Europe and the US. In a visit to Piura, Peru, I was told that this is now a US$50 million dollar enterprise, and it is smallholders who are benefitting from it. Historically, this region has been a hotspot of poverty in Latin America. The natural resource base is practically non-existent, and at least for agriculture there weren’t many options with just 60mm of rainfall falling every year. But the one thing that Piura does have is a river, and the vast water-way that flows through this desert in northern Peru comes from the mountains where glaciers are melting, and rain is falling on the steep Andean slopes. Banana producers flood their fields with water from the River Chiura and River Piura as many as three times a month, and so it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t rain. The other massive advantage that this region has is that there are practically no banana pests or diseases/.../Bananas are booming in northern Peru. I can tell you, it was really fascinating to see all this. Read the full entry on CIATS blog.