Peru: Water use for asparagus unsustainable, report says

Peru: Water use for asparagus unsustainable, report says

Water use in Peru´s profitable asparagus industry is unsustainable, according to a report from a British non-governmental organization.

Diverting water to the Ica Valley, where 95 percent of the country´s asparagus crop is grown, is rapidly depleting groundwater supplies, endangering the crop and the lives of the people who live in the area, according to the report published Sept. 15, 1010, by Progressio, an organization dedicated to helping the poor in developing countries.

The explosion of the asparagus industry since the 1990s has provided many jobs to the poor who live nearby, but that boon is in peril as the costs of irrigating one of the driest places on Earth spiral upward. Larger farms must pay more to dig deeper wells or transport water longer distances to maintain the business that brings $230 million to Peru every year. Fewer wells must provide the water, and even residents who live above the Ica Valley have been affected by the water shortage, the report says.

Peru ships most of its asparagus to the United Kingdom. Growing the crop for that market required 9 million cubic meters of water in 2008, or 3,600 Olympic-size swimming pools, Progressio said.

The report calls for cooperation among the government, agribusiness, scientists and residents to make water use in Peru more sustainable.

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

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