Peru's mango producers victim of climate change
The farmers of northern Peru have been fighting the damaging effects of global warming for a while. As we reported in an article earlier this year, Peru is the third most affected country in the world by climate change. The northern region of Piura is among the areas that are seeing the greatest effects. Massive deluges at unexpected times and temperatures that are consistently higher than the norm are evidence of the larger climatic disruptions taking place across the planet.
Recently, we received a disturbing news report from one of our partners in Piura, CEPICAFE, on the devastating situation of mango farmers in the coastal regions. For the second consecutive year, 8,000 producers of the tropical fruit – this area of Peru being the source of 80% of the world’s total mango exports – will have to cope with record low yields.
According to Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture, only 45% of the 15,000 hectares of mango plantations produced a crop last year. In January 2008, more than 120,000 tons of mangos were harvested; January 2009’s harvest yielded only 30,000. Projections of the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology indicate that this year’s results will be similar…or worse. The reason for this significant reduction: nighttime temperatures in May and July climbed beyond the 14 degrees C which is necessary to insure good production. The temperature itself is the first sign of a successful harvest.
As national researchers work to come up with methods to prevent the collapse of mango cultivation, the inherent uncertainty of the climatic phenomenon makes it difficult to plan anything. And if their proposed solutions don’t work, the hectares of mango plants eventually would have to be replaced by a crop, like the plantain, that could withstand the higher temperatures – a measure of last resort by all accounts.
While many of us are thinking and discussing climate change, global warming and the greenhouse effect, farmers all over the world are directly feeling the impact already. The case of the Peruvian mango producers is merely one example of the urgency of the problem.Back to the newsletter.