Igniting rural development through creativity and innovation in Peru

@IFAD/Rocio Chirinos. Members of the Reforesting and Stock Farmers´ Association, Nueva Chota, Lama Province

Peru is a country of intense contrasts: Imposing peaks separate the arid coastal strip from the Amazon rainforest. The Peruvian jungle is also a region of surprising diversity: Not only in terms of landscapes, but also because of its dwellers and their resourceful spirit to find new ways to enhance their living conditions. However, poverty in rural areas is still high (44%), needing all efforts to help improve the situation of rural communities.

IFAD has been present in Peru for more than three decades. Creativity and innovation characterize the initiatives promoted by IFAD in the country, as Saheed Adegbite, Director of IFAD´s Office of Budget and Organizational Development, could personally witness during a visit to Peru last May.

The Sierra and Selva Alta Project, financed by IFAD and the Government of Peru, is a good example of effective, innovative approaches. The project includes technical assistance through local extension agents (talentos rurales) and competitions (concursos) for innovation and conservation of traditional knowledge encompassing gastronomy, ecotourism, organic vegetable production and trout farming, among other creative initiatives that increase income and generate employment for smallholder farmers. 

This is the case of the Reforesting and Stock Farmers´ Association in Nueva Chota, located in the Province of Lamas, San Martin Region, which created a dairy production module in the middle of a remote forest area. Natural cheese and exotic fruit yogurts are being elaborated by 20 families, who have been trained in milk production processes and commercial strategies. The products have sanitary registry and a distribution center and store in the locality of San Roque. 

“We are proud that we can expand our products in food fairs and be connected to markets thanks to the capacities that we have gained as part of the business plan development” explained JosĂ© Fustamante, President of the Association.

“Remarkable is the equity and social inclusion approach of the project” pointed out Saheed Adegbite,  during his visit to San Martin Region, where he verified how local leaders, women and young people are transforming their rural environment in benefit of their communities.  Through the Sierra and Selva Alta project, rural organizations can receive technology transfers and access resources for carrying out their commercial enterprises or implement territorial management plans.

Another project that Mr. Adegbite visited was the initiative of “Healthy Households” that is benefiting 38 families in Pardo Miguel. Direct cash transfer enabled the winning farmer´s association to hire technical assistance to meet their own needs. On one side, they have improved their housing conditions trough the installation of environment-friendly stoves, and the clear demarcation of boundaries between family spaces and animal husbandry, and on the other hand they received entrepreneurial training to develop at household level small businesses, such as orchid and succulent plant nurseries.

Through these practices that support profitable activities and strengthen local capacities, IFAD demonstrates its leadership in the promotion of rural development in Peru.

Mr Adegbite visiting the Healthy Household Initiative, Pardo Miguel Community. ©IFAD.