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Peru to modernize agricultural information system with support from IDB

Loan of $15 million will facilitate compiling and sharing of data to guide public policy and marketing

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced the approval of a $15 million loan to help Peru improve the quality, reliability and availability of its agricultural information, in a bid to improve farm policies and revenue for rural producers.

Peru boasts one of the most vibrant economies in Latin America. Agriculture, the leading sector, provides employment for 26 percent of the workforce. Farm exports grew at an annual rate of 17.3 percent over the past 10 years. Rural income per capita doubled in the past six years, and poverty in the countryside fell 30 percentage points.

The IDB loan will help finance a $30 million government plan to modernize the agricultural statistics system and introduce ICTs to provide information directly to farmers.

The project will use the results of the last farm census in Peru, which was carried out in 2012, to set up a statistical system that is accurate and reliable in terms of land being farmed, production, yield and production costs. Also, training will be provided to staff at the Office of Economic and Statistical Studies at the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

The project will also encourage the creation of private companies focused on providing information of interest for small and medium-scale producers via electronic devices and cell phones. For instance, these firms might share information about prices at markets, business opportunities, weather forecasts and technical advice about crops. Some pilot projects have shown that this information has a significant positive economic impact, as it helps producers make decisions about production and marketing.

The IDB loan is for 8.1 years, with a grace period of 7.6 years and an interest rate based on LIBOR. The local contribution for the project is $14.9 million.