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As Peru looks to establish itself as a major global producer and exporter, people working in the Peruvian agriculture continue to reap the benefits of a rapidly growing sector.

Doubled employment

In his presentation at the 2019 Asiafruit Business Forum, Carlos Zamorano, general manager of Provid, Peru’s peak body for table grape producers, said employment had almost doubled in the thirteen years between 2004 and 2017.

“In 2004 there were 462 000 jobs in the agriculture sector, that number increased to 809 000 in 2017, thanks to modern agricultural practices,” said Zamorano.

New jobs have led to more opportunities for young people and women to enter the industry, and women now have greater representation, making up 45,96% of the workforce in 2015.

Growing wages

Wages in the industry are steadily growing, too, and are now substantially higher than the minimum vital remuneration (RMV) amount, specific to Peru.

In the capital, Lima, the average monthly salary is 930 soles (US$275). For agricultural employees, the average salary sits at 1 506 soles (US$443) per month.

Better wages have helped pull people out of poverty, said Zamorano.

“In 2004, 81,3% of people in the industry were living in poverty. That has dropped to 38,3% in 2017,” he said.

“Employees are earning more money. They have easier access to clean water and sanitation, better health and well being and also greater opportunities to further education.”

Growing the agricultural sector through incentives

China’s next generation are opting to move to big cities instead of working in the agricultural industry. Zamorano believes the best way to encourage them to enter the industry is to incentivise the work.

“As we have seen in Peru, the incentives of better education, access to safe water and the health benefits has helped bring young people in,” he said.

“I believe this could work in China, but obviously it’s not as simple as that.” – Eurofruit