The production of peaches in the Callejon de Huaylas

F or people who like nature the Callejon de Huaylas has beautiful and picturesque landscapes, it also provides the opportunity to experience the culture of the small villages and towns. Starting from Huaraz, which is located at 3,100 metres above sea level, and heading 66 kilometres north along the Callejon de Huaylas we reach Caraz at an altitude of 2290 metres above sea level. Between the Cordillera Blanca y Cordillera Negra the Rio Santa Valley one can see beautiful crops, which grow thanks to the variety of soils and climates, ranging from cold, temperate and warm climates.

This diversity allows the existence of orchards and plots that produce a range of products such as vegetables, herbs, cereals, grains, tubers, flowers, and fruit, which at first were produced for family consumption, with a small surplus being sold in local markets at very cheap prices. But with the passing of the years, and the increased demand from large cities, the orchards have focused on a larger and more technical production, as is the case of peaches.
Thanks to a micro climate, conditions for growing tasty and sweet peaches are optimal in the Carhuaz province, which is located at an altitude of 2650 metres. The peach plant requires many hours of cold between four and ten degrees Celsius – the area’s night time temperatures, and between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius during the day, allowing the formation of sugar in the fruit, that give the fruit the sweetness and colour, making it very attractive and delicious.

There are several aspects of the process that could be improved, such as the cropping, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. These procedures are now standardized within the supply chain, as they are demanded by buyers. There is also the problem of using pesticides, industrial chemicals, and the trash in the fields from the packaging waste. Simple recycling and cleaning programs, executed by the municipality, would solve these issues.
Most of the fruit production is delivered to the consumer market and, at the market the prices are determined according to the quality factors that are given by the size, colour and status of the fruit. If abundant production is achieved, it is certain that quality will be sacrificed, because the greater amount of fruit you have in the cluster, the smaller the size. Applying thinning techniques means super premium fruits are obtained. Super-thinning is where fruit clusters are removed when they are still small, leaving spaces to allow further growth of the fruits that have been left on the plant.

You should also take special care when removing the fruit from the tree, not to over squeeze or put your fingers into the flesh. It is recommended that they are all harvested by hand; separating them from the branch with a twist to the left, or to the right. Fruit farmers in other parts of the world take care with this final detail, because the consumer is very demanding. Farmers even usually protect the fruit in paper bags in order to obtain premium products with superior appearance. It is advisable to harvest them two or three days before consumption, those who harvest semi mature to buy time in the distribution process fail to have similar flavours compared to those matured on the tree.

The remainder of the fruit produced in the area, (30%) is purchased by the industry for the manufacture of pulp and nectar. This market demand is growing consistently, here there are mainly three companies, two of which have agreements with farmers, and have an active local presence. Peach nectar shows greater preference over other nectars available, especially for school children.

Different varieties of peaches exist, some have very solid flesh and it is easy to remove the pit. The early varieties are softer and more perishable. The red variety is more resistant and requires more time to mature.

There was the habitude of eating them as dessert after lunch, or to go to the orchards to pick them up and eat them under the trees, but according to scientific research it is not a dessert, more of an excellent food-remedy.

Moreover, within its nutritional attributes provitamin A, vitamin C, B1, B2 and B6 are included, it also includes beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that among other things helps prevent the development of cancer.

The peach is native to China, where it was known for its rejuvenating properties to the point of symbolising longevity. From there it spread to Turkey and Greece, Spain and Italy. Now Spain is one of the world’s largest producers.

In the Callejon de Huaylas, mainly in Yungay and Carhuaz, peach crops are about 500 Ha., with a growth projection of 100 Ha. per year for the production of fresh fruit and nectars.

During the blossoming season the views of the fields are beautiful, because the flowers are white or purple. Finally, peaches are so delicious, they go well with all the sweet and semi-acid fruits, with honey, and with figs. Also you can enjoy them mixed with persimmons, cherries, bananas, melon, watermelon, oranges, pomegranates with oaring juice, cream, soft cheese, cereals such as quiwicha, with roasted sweet potatoes, mango and yogurt, etc.

About the author: Betel Sevillano Montañez is an economist and has a MA in business administration, he works as a grains trader and is a farmer who cultivates and exports quinoa from his family farm in Llupa, close to Huaraz, on the way to Churup. Also he cultivates and produces peaches on his small boutique farm in Mancos, Callejón de Huaylas. He believes that there are great business opportunities for small agricultures of la sierra. Betel can be contacted by writing to:

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