Peru's Pulse Usage Jumps

WASHINGTON - May 28/20 - SNS -- Pulse consumption in Peru has jumped significantly since the government imposed quarantine restrictions in an effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Reporting on the situation, the U.S. agricultural attache for the country said there has been a "surge in demand for pulses (canary beans, navy beans, lentils, green peas and chickpeas) in Peru . . . In response, local importers are increasing purchases amid expected future shortages in stocks, lower yields, and higher prices."

On March 16, 2020, Peru put in place an unprecedented national quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With an obligatory curfew and martial law to enforce, only essential businesses are able to open. To be classified as an essential business permitted to operate, formal companies must register with the government.

Food suppliers, importers, exporters, producers and manufacturers are considered essential. These strict measures have impacted the economy. National production contracted by 16% in March 2020. Additionally, according to a representative of Peru's Central Bank, as of mid-April, 23% of the economically active population was unemployed, credit card usage was down 75%, debit card usage was down 50%, 40% reduction in sales tax revenue.

As a result, the government is investing 12% of Peru's GDP back into the economy to maintain liquidity. Measures it has taken include direct payments to the unemployed, income subsidies of up to 35%, investment in health equipment, and postponing tax collection. Peru's Central Bank expects at least a two-year recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Economic recovery will be slow and uncertain.