Flooding in jungle costs Peru farmers millions

Flooding of two rivers in Peru’s eastern Ucayali Department has destroyed thousands of acres of crops, causing millions of dollars in damage. The president of Ucayali, Jorge Velásquez, told daily El Comercio he has requested aid from Agriculture Minister Ismael Benavides to support some 2,000 families who lost their farm land.

Velásquez said more than 3,200 hectares, about 7,907 acres, of farm land has been destroyed, costing the department $13.5 million. Banana farmers have reportedly been the most affected, losing 2,167 hectares, about 5,354 acres, and costing them more than seven million soles, about $2.4 million.

Pineapple farmers have also suffered major loses. With a pineapple production cost of 18,000 soles per hectare, about $2,515 per acre, the flooding has cost them 720,000 soles, about $250,000. “We’ve also lost yucca, rice, cocoa bean, coffee, citrus fruits, and corn,” said Velásquez.

Heavy rains caused the Aguaytía and Yurac Rivers to overflow in early February, affecting thousands of people and damaging parts of the Federico Basadre highway, which connects the Ucayali and Huánuco Departments.

The latest report from the National Institute for Civil Defense, Indeci, says more than 77,000 people in Peru have been affected by the torrential rains since January. Almost 30 percent of those affected, about 23,000 people, are in the Ucayali Department.

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