Fuente: Equipo de Selva Industrial S.A.
PRICKLY PEAR IN PERU
In Peru, the approximate sowing area of prickly pear is 18 thousand hectares, of which 70% is used for prickly pear fruit and 30% for cochineal (natural coloring). The main prickly pear production areas are: Ayacucho, Arequipa, Apurímac, Ancash and Lima. On average, the fields have a yield of 9 MT / ha, which gives us a total of 113 thousand tons. This total is divided into the red, yellow and green / white varieties.
The harvest months traditionally can be during the spring and summer of Peru (October – March) but the harvest peaks for the supply of the cellulose and pulp and concentrate industries are from December to March of each year. This availability for the industry is formed thanks to the highest harvest peak of this crop that arises in that period and that makes the purchase prices of the fruit accessible to the industry.
The prickly pear in Peru has a high consumption in the local market because there is a great internal demand for the fresh market that consumes 70% of the total production of all varieties and that can pay a higher price than the industry.
SELECTED HARVEST AREA
Selva Industrial S.A. has selected the Cuenca district in the Huarochiri province, located in the department of Lima, as its red prickly pear supply region. This is mainly due to the quality of the fruit and the intense magenta red coloration that this region produces. In addition to this, Cuenca production area is between 60 and 100 km away from our plant in Callao, which allows us to easily transport the raw material.
Cuenca is divided into three zones: Upper, Middle and Lower. Within this we have managed to identify 4 populated centers that are mainly producers of red prickly pear and are:
- Cuculi: It is located 1000 meters m.a.s.l.
- Piedra Grande: It is located 1.400 m.a.s.l.
- Catacancha: It is located 2,000 m.a.s.l.
- Calahuaya: It is located 2.200 m.a.s.l.
We have selected some of the localities because they generate a more intense color due to the higher concentration of pigments in the fruits. Likewise, these same conditions allow a larger fruit size, which improves performance in the production process.
Our suppliers are the farming communities that together have a total of 1,200 ha, of which 80% is red prickly pear, which we process, and 20% is green prickly pear, which usually goes to the fresh market. The communities are compound of small producers, whose socioeconomic status depends mainly on the production and sale of prickly pear. For this reason, Selva Industrial S.A. has carried out training work and agronomic assistance to farmers so they can improve their productivity and standardize the color required by the export market in all their fields so that they can have a better quality of life. In the agricultural work that we have carried out, we have found two ecotypes of red prickly pear: One has a purple skin and a red magenta color and another has a green skin and a lighter red
color. Likewise, after the different visits and meetings with the farmers, we have managed to get them to clearly know the desired pulp color and to select the fields and plantations based on this ecotype for the new season.
On the other hand, we are working on creating new fields of red prickly pear where only the red-magenta ecotype will grow. These new fields will have a total of approximately 250 ha and will be ready by 2021.
CROP SEASON 2020-2021
The harvest this year began in August, as farmers have learned to harvest early thanks to the training provided and thus improve their economy, since the fresh market constantly demands this fruit. The 2020-2021 harvest comes with very good quality and volume. While the favorable weather has also contributed, the main cause of the quality of the harvest is due to the fact that the farmers have applied better care to their fields due to the training and recommendations provided by Selva Industrial S.A. Also, the quarantine time that prevented them from going to work in the city has also helped, since the towns were protected from the entry and exit of people, so they spent more time in their fields.
This year the peak of harvest will take place between January and February where prices are suitable for the industrial market. It should be emphasized that at the peak of the harvest, more than 50% of the total for the entire season is concentrated. Our producers assure us more than 250 MT of fruit per month up to 750 – 1000 MT for the
entire season of good quality in brix, visual color and flavor. We will be glad to attend your prickly pear pulp requirements for this new crop season.