Peru lacks expertise to handle irrigation growth
Peru has witnessed buoyant growth in the development of technical horticulture over the last five years, but NaanDan Jain Peru technical chief Cesar Montoya says the growth in expertise has not kept pace. To help improve this situation he has been assisting the Peruvian Agri Institute with seminar workshops to educate growers about pressurized irrigation systems. He tells www.freshfruitportal.com about what is needed for different crops.
Montoya says greater education is needed for advanced irrigation with crops such as grapes, citrus fruits, asparagus, capsicums, bananas and avocados.
"The rapid growth in area and number of these properties, and the slow response from educational institutions to train agricultural professionals has led to a shortage of skilled labor to take control of these operations," he says.
"As a response the Peruvian Agri Institute and other institutions are developing training courses aimed at enhancing the knowledge and technical skills of the operators."
He says the drip irrigation system is dominant in Peru due to its long history and effectiveness of use.
"The table grape crop, with its significant development across the northern and central zones of the country such as Piura, Ica and Nepeña, has boosted the the implementation of drip irrigation systems with very high levels of sophistication.
"Citrus fruits are an important user of drip irrigation systems, mainly located on the country's central coast."
He says growers of certain crops including avocados and organic bananas would be better off changing their water systems away from drip irrigation.
"The micro sprinkler irrigation system has proven very effective for organic banana crops, with results reflected in the installation of new projects where this is the dominant system, due to the quality of moistening, low water consumption and high resistance to clogging.
"The installation of avocado crops allows for the implementation of irrigation technologies that traditionally haven't been applied in the country; changing from drip irrigation to micro sprinklers has brought very good results, and is an example of the market opening to new forms of irrigation.
"The micro sprinkler irrigation system presents strong growth."
Montoya highlights the large diversity in area and grower characteristics mean irrigation systems differ across the country.
"The level of sophistication with capsicums is very varied, from fully automated systems with control of pH and EC (electrical conductivity) records in the field to small properties that have manual operation drip irrigation systems.
He says sprinkler systems in general have not been as popular due to a history of low efficiency rates and high energy consumption,
even though specialty systems have been developed, such as low angle sprinklers for bananas that operate under low pressure.
Montoya adds the Peruvian market for a range of irrigation products is still very large.