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Peru is doing things the right way

By
Craig Levitt, managing editor

When thinking of countries that export fruits and vegetables into the United States, Peru is often at the top of the list — and that is no accident.

About 20 years ago, the powers that be in Peru created a local institution, Senasa Peru, to ensure the quality of its exports. Since then, Peruvian exports have been steadily on the rise.    

The Trade Commission of Peru featured asparagus soup at the recently held New York Produce Show.
The Trade Commission of Peru featured
asparagus soup at the recently held New York
Produce Show.

Take asparagus for example. “In 1985 Peru started exporting asparagus from nil; 15-18 years later Peru is the No. 1 exporter of asparagus in the world,” said Bernardo Munoz Angosto, director of the Trade Commission of Peru in New York. “We started 15 years ago with avocados; now we are the second-biggest exporter of avocado. Eight years ago nobody talked about Peru as a producer of blueberries; now we are a top blueberry exporter.”

Part of the strategy to spread the word about Peru is what Angosto called commercial gastronomy. “We are trying to use our gastronomy and work with chefs to create plates that feature all of our export products,” he said.

For example, at the recently concluded New York Produce Show, the Trade Commission of Peru booth featured avocado with potatoes, grapes with quinoa and asparagus soup. He said they are doing sampling and demos with retailers to inform the end consumer.

“These are some of the things we like to show buyers so they can tell the end consumers what else they can do with all these products,” said Angosto. “Most retailers are trying to work with distributors so they can teach consumers what else they can do with all these products.”

Transparency also plays a factor.

“We talk about the supply chain,” said Angosto. “We provide a lot of information on traceability. Part of our work is to tell the story of who is behind each of the products. We tell you where they come from and who is the owner.

“The bottom line is we do things the right way and are always trying to learn and improve,” said Angosto.

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