Tara exports: a small sample of the hidden potential

The world demand for this product is concentrated in developed countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Italy, thanks to the existence of a legislation that promotes the use of Tara gum as a natural food additive.

Nowadays, Peru is already an exporter of Tara products, even when the volumes are still limited. For example, it is observed that in 2006 Peru exported over 20 million dollars, where Italy and the United States were the main markets for Tara in powder and seeds respectively. On the other hand, between 2002 and 2006 the international sales of this product rose over 175%, a figure that reveals the enormous expansion of the demand in the last years. The sales of Tara products to the United States market have followed the same trend as well, and reveal an expansion of 1000% in the same period mentioned above. Additionally it is important to consider that Tara exports have gained importance in time and nowadays are ranked in the position number 21 in the list of the main agro industry products exported by Peru.

Therefore, considering the enormous potential of the demand and the relative small competition, the initiatives driven to promote this crop in regions such as Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Ancash and Huanuco are indeed remarkable. However, it is important to notice that this crop grows in altitudes between 500 and 3100 meters over the sea level, which determines that almost every Andean region can take advantage of this opportunity.

So, the interesting experience of the Tara plants shows us that Peru has an enormous range of natural products that can be transformed into products with high value added for the industries worldwide. But to make that happen, investment in research and development is needed. It is time to stop being the beggar sitting on the golden bench and start exploring new opportunities to promote our development.