Peru must protect "weak" rural communities' water supply from powerful commercial farms

    by María Teresa Oré, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
    Friday, 18 March 2016 16:34 GMT

A paprika pepper hangs before a harvest at a plantation on the outskirts of Ica April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

The boom in agriculture in the Ica region of southern Peru has centred on internationally popular crops, including asparagus, paprika, avocados, and artichokes, predominantly grown for export.

But the agriculture companies that produce these crops rely heavily on groundwater, which some pump 24 hours a day, depleting reserves, explains María Teresa Oré, professor of water resources management at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru

Oré calls for intervention: "It’s important for the government to regulate and monitor the use of groundwater because while the area’s agro-exporters are powerful, the organizations that defend the agricultural water rights of small- and medium-sized farmers -- as well as the rights of the urban population and rural communities to have access to drinking water -- are relatively weak."

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