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Peru seeks solutions to its fertilizer crisis

August 1, 2022
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies that produce fertilizer or similar alternatives may find market opportunities in Peru.

Peru’s government is providing grants to farmers with up to about 25 acres of land to help them buy fertilizer so they can make it through the current growing season.

Peru’s farmers have been struck by a severe shortage of the synthetic fertilizers they commonly use. Supply chain issues that began during the COVID-19 pandemic became dramatically worse when Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia previously supplied 70% of those fertilizers; as a result, during the first four months of 2022, imports of urea to Peru fell 84% from the previous year, according to Agrilinks, a U.S. government information hub.

Clímaco Cárdenas, president of the National Convention for Peruvian Agriculture, said the small amount of fertilizer that is still available costs four times as much as usual. He predicted that the lack of adequate fertilizer could result in a 40% drop in the production of food crops, Agrilinks said.

The grants are in addition to the government’s own efforts to buy urea, a low-cost nitrogen fertilizer. Previous plans for the government purchase ran into “irregularities,” and a new contract had to be awarded, delaying the process, according to Peru’s government news agency Andina.

The government also is trying to distribute guano, or bird excrement, for farmers to use as fertilizer.

Wisconsin companies with fertilizer products may find an opportunity in the Peruvian market. According to the International Trade Administration, SENASA, Peru’s national agrarian health service, has said that the importation of fertilizers does not require a registration or approval process if pesticides, fungicides or growth-regulating hormones are not involved.

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