Agronoticias: Agriculture News from Latin America and the Caribbean
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Andean Region

12/10/2017

Peru, the World Bank and FAO see innovation as a path to reducing the social divide in agriculture

The inequalities between rural and urban areas in Peru demonstrate the growing need to invest in innovative methods and technologies. The National Plan for Agricultural Innovation is intended to consolidate this system, improving the living conditions in the country's highlands.

Rural family from Ocongate district near Cusco, Peru.

Peru has been one of the most stable economies in Latin America over the past decade. This factor has allowed the country to gradually reactivate its economic development after nearly 30 years of stagnation. There have been few downsides to this process, with over 4 million people crossing the poverty line from 2004 to 2010. Nevertheless, despite this progress, the social divide continues to be a problem, and is even more evident when comparing rural and urban environments. Six out of every ten poor people in Peru live in rural areas, with extreme poverty essentially limited to these areas. The trend shows a worrisome increase in inequality between the country's urban and rural areas.

Despite the many challenges facing the agriculture sector, it kept up with the pace of the growing national economy and is currently considered to be a strategic sector for development; however, it is remarkable to note that this growth in agriculture has not led to more substantial improvements in the quality of life of the inhabitants of the highlands of Peru. This lack of synchrony between economic and social development – often justified by the need for innovation in agriculture – has given rise to the National Agricultural Innovation Program (PNIA according to its acronym in Spanish), an initiative of the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation financed by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) . The objective of the PNIA is to create and consolidate the appropriate conditions for incorporating innovation in agricultural processes and technologies in Peru, reinforcing the capacities of the National Agricultural Innovation Institute (INIA according to its acronym in Spanish). Agronoticias recently spoke with Dennis Escudero, FAO expert, about this issue, who highlighted the inclusive aspect of innovation projects: “[These projects] consider all of the actors, agents and/or public and private entities in the agricultural sector that have some kind of a relationship with research and innovation as part of the system.”

Escudero and John Preissing, FAO Representative in Ecuador, participated with Michael Morris, Project Director from the World Bank, along with other project technicians, on a project evaluation mission in September. “During the first week of the mission, we traveled to the regions of Cajamarca, Amazonas, Lambayeque, and Piura to learn more about the implementation of various different subprojects in situ,” stated Preissing. “The mission confirmed significant advances were being made in the implementation of competitive funds in these regions, where the actors participating in the innovation system are collaborating on the generation, adaptation and mass use of innovations and technologies.”

The estimated closing date for the National Agricultural Innovation Program is September of 2019.

 

Photo Credit: Oxfam International (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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