Peru: Capacity building to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreement *

In this context, implementing the PTPA between Peru and the U.S. as well as complying with the commitments included are only a few of the challenges we will need to embark on as we take advantage of this important development tool. That is why Peru should anticipate itself and start developing intensive programs to enable and orient the industrial sector, to immerse in this process particularly those who will require a higher level of assistance to understand the free trade agreement and its benefits.

It is necessary to emphasize the success of certain support programs like the PRA Project (Reduction and Poverty Relief Program from the USAID-PERU Agency, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy) the same one which contributes to generate employment and increase incomes in 10 poverty zones in Peru, through an entrepreneurial focus that allows them to connect producers with a specific demand identified in the market, eliminating the obstacles that may restrain the efficiency. This project allows them to identify the demand and organize the offers in order to "produce what sells", providing them with the technological and managerial support that will also ensure that the correct required standards are being met.

A clear example, is the VRAE cacao industry which congregates all sorts of producers in the coca zones, and thanks to the technical support given by the PRA during the post-harvest time, a better quality of the crop was created as well as the standardization required by the client in the international market. This emphasis has proven to work generating 211 million dollars in sales during the years of 2000 to 2007, and 96 million of them came from exports.

This is only one of the many success stories that demonstrate that with a little help in technical and managerial support, our industries can cater to the increasing international demands and continue generating quality employment that can reduce poverty. It is evident then, that these programs should be copied in order to assist entrepreneurs that may lack one part of the productive chain, but with a little help can embrace the huge opportunities that the Free Trade Agreement can bring them commercially.

*Translated by Joceline Frank

Frankly Speaking Inc.