Sierra Exportadora seeks diversification in the highlands

20 December 2015

The government's programme 'Sierra Exportadora' provides a potential instrument in spreading the benefits of mining. Created in 2006 under the auspices of the Office of the President, it got off to a slow start but is now gaining momentum. However, following recent press reports that 'hundreds of thousands' of families had benefitted, we asked Macroconsult, a consultancy firm in Lima, for its view. They replied quoting a Banco Central de Reserva (BCRP) report, recording '78,000' beneficiaries in 2014, up from 57,000 in 2012. The largest group of projects is in the coffee sector, with avocados and other fruits following suit. It is claimed that 10 million 'days of work' have been generated.

The BCRP report contains an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the programme. The analysis of the benefits focuses on the extent to which the programme works to develop associations of producers. The fragility lies in the difficulty local governments have in collaborating with one another and the problems that cooperatives encounter in getting established.

A technical evaluation of Sierra Exportadora is much needed to assess how far the projects that receive assistance are actually viable. It is important to know what follow up is needed and whether it is forthcoming. In funding terms, it is worrying (though no surprise) that the effort to prepare for El Niño (see below) has led to funds being diverted from the programme.

(Source: Banco Central de Reserva, 'Una nota sobre Sierra Exportadora', unpublished Lima December 2015.)

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