LIMA, PERU — Peruvian millers have established a social program to promote durum wheat cultivation for pasta production, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As part of the program, the millers provide small farmers with seed and technical assistance and guarantee the purchase of their wheat, the report said.

It noted that farmers in Peru are now producing around 12,000 tonnes of durum wheat for a pasta production plant in Arequipa, about 1,000 kilometers south of Lima.

With consumption at 12 kilograms per capita, Peru is South America’s second largest consumer of pasta. Consumption is concentrated in the capital city of Lima, which accounts for half of the nation’s pasta intake.

Peru produces about 1.6 million tonnes of flour (wheat equivalent) per year, of which 20% goes into pasta manufacturing.

Most wheat used in flour mills is imported from Canada and the United States.  The USDA projects wheat imports in the 2022-23 marketing year at 2.25 million tonnes. In calendar year 2021, only 2 million tonnes were imported, a 12% reduction compared to the previous year “due to the economic stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”