Barrick has announced a $1.9 million, six-year partnership with Societé de Coopération pour le Developpement International (SOCODEVI) and the Canadian government to support entrepreneurship and agro-forestry in Peru’s Ancash and La Libertad regions. SOCODEVI is a Canadian non-governmental organization (NGO) that shares technical and business knowledge with partners in developing countries.
The partnership will support a new program to promote cooperation among local entrepreneurs and better equip and train them to further benefit from the rapid growth of mining in Peru. The program, Project for Promoting Economic Competitiveness and Diversification in Extractive Regions, or PRODICOM, will also help entrepreneurs diversify their businesses and expose them to new markets. The Peruvian economy, driven by a boom in mining, expanded at an annual average of 6.4 percent between 2002-2012, according to World Bank figures.
“This is the beginning of something new, a joint effort that aims to access new markets, produce better products and generate more earnings for local producers,” says Patricia Ann Fortier, Canada’s Ambassador to Peru. “This also demonstrates that mining and farming can coexist and move forward together. In Canada we have done this as there is a large extractive industry and at the same time a great agro-industry sector.”
SOCODEVI will be in charge of training these local producers. It will primarily conduct in-field training activities, as well as a number of one-on-one sessions. The program will initially target dairy and fruit producers in La Libertad near Barrick’s Lagunas Norte mine.
“I’m excited and proud to be part of this innovative project with SOCODEVI,” says Manuel Fumagalli, Barrick’s Executive Director in Peru. “We hope to build on the success of previous initiatives similar to this.”
Fumagalli is referring to a previous pilot reforestry project in La Libertad jointly funded by Barrick and the Canadian International Development Agency. The difference between that project and PRODICOM is scale: the new project is much larger. In addition to the socio-economic component, the current project aims to reforest 1,500 hectares of land in La Libertad and another 1,000 hectares in Ancash. By comparison, the previous project involved the reforestation and improvement of 165 hectares and the planting of a tree nursery. Barrick is currently supporting similar agro-forestry initiatives in the Dominican Republic.
The PRODICOM project is also being supported by Antamina Mining, Rio Tinto, the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and Innovation, the Peruvian Ministry of Production, and local and regional governments in Ancash and La Libertad.