Written by Luis Ginocchio Balcázar
Former Minister of Agriculture

Last April 12th in the auditorium of the Regional Government, in Iquitos, the forum 'Plant Intelligence and new development model for Loreto' was developed. The event was supported by local company Lorente Reforest and consulting firm Maximixe. In the face of great public assistance, the regional governor, Elisbán Ochoa Sosa, inaugurated the forum highlighting the economic and social difficulties affecting its people and in particular the regional capital, the most populous city of the Peruvian Amazon.

Governor Ochoa detailed the crisis facing the two main regional productive roles, oil and timber, which caused a deterioration in the quality of life of the Loretana population. Ochoa regretted that Loreto can remain alone as a consumer and harvesting region, with limited basic and productive infrastructure. And he offered the support of his management to those who propose new paths for regional development.

Lorente, entrepreneurial knowledge and attitude

The forum then began with the presentation of the forestry researcher, Enrique Lorente Pastor, with thirty years of residence in Iquitos, a Spaniard whose family for five generations worked with trees and other vegetables. Lorente has accumulated an extraordinary experience and his dedication and enthusiastic speech has been arousing great expectation to materialize a great project for the economic development of Loreto.

This is the primary step for a vision longed for by many Peruvians: technological knowledge and business skills related to seeds, first step for Iquitos to be a great center of production, processing and export of wood precious and its industrial derivatives. A forest 'golden' from the massive germination of seeds of species of high economic value such as mahogany, cedar, huayruro, mohena, rosewood and shihuahuaco, associated with tropical fruits and other vegetables. All without using chemical inputs.

This entrepreneur and scholar – so identified with Loreto – explained the advances in science and technology around the concept of 'plant intelligence', mentioning Stefano Mancuso (doctor in biophysics, world's highest authority on plant neurobiology and Professor at the University of Florence). Lorente also highlighted the contributions of Dr. Bruce Lipton to his research, an expert in cell biology, who emphasizes the influence of the environment with 95% specific weight on the success or failure of living beings.

We all know that the Amazon is one of the most important lungs on the planet, leveling temperatures and regulating carbon dioxide emissions. However, approximately 150,000 hectares/year are deforested in Peru. That is why Lorente proposes an ambitious reforestation project – mainly with native Amazonian species – that will bring employment for the Loretanos (starting with the population of the Iquitos-Nauta highway) and the long-awaited productive role of businesses successful forestry for a country that needs to diversify its economy.

Lorente explains that once germinated the seeds are cared for until they become seedlings that are transplanted into the field with high success rates. In addition to cedar and mahogany (meliaceous) and the species listed above, syringe (rubber), bolaina, capirona, copaiba, cumala, huasaí, teak and palisangre are also worked. In its experimental estate 'Paraíso', located in the district of San Juan Bautista, it determines the species that thrive in flood zones and which do not.

The 'myths' that harm Loreto
1)The land of Loreto does not produce
2)In Loreto there is no deforestation
3)The Amazon regenerates on its own
4)Small agriculture causes the greatest deforestation
5)More concessions are needed to refloat the forestry sector

It appeals favorably as by combining old natural recipes learned at home in distant Spain, plus the new advances it acquires from science and technology, Lorente has accumulated a knowledge with a high practical approach to the enormous challenge of reforestoring the Peruvian Amazon. He estimates that no more than 1 million trees are produced each year among all forest nurseries in Peru. And that to reforest 25,000 hectares would require 22 to 23 million seedlings generating up to 50,000 jobs in two years.

It concludes Lorente by stressing the importance of an investment fund to realize its reforestation project which is being implemented with Maximixe's technical support. 'No one wants aid, they want work, in the potentially richest region of the country where six out of ten children are malnourished.'

The forum

Dr. Jorge Chávez Alvarez, President of Maximixe, strategic consultant and investment banker with the theme 'Regional Competitiveness and development of agroforestry clusters in Loreto' also participated in the forum. In his presentation Chávez Alvarez relied that Peru is the fourth country in the world by the extension of its tropical forests, but its exports are only US$120 million a year, much lower than those of neighboring countries. At the same time, Dr. Chávez referred to the urgency of actions to overcome the deterioration of the Loretana economy from a development plan containing actions to strengthen regional competitiveness and productive diversification.

Next, the former regional governor of Ica (2015-2018), Fernando Cillóniz Benavides, detailed the gestation of the agro-export boom in his region and underlined the role of private investment with national money by 95%. He emphasized that while the Peruvian coast sells its arid and anti-season climate with markets in the northern hemisphere, Loreto has to offer its tropicality and its forests. Cillóniz calculated in 160,000 hectares – nationally – which have allowed the boost of shipments of fruits and vegetables abroad.

The author of this column also participated in providing experiences on how to develop a gastronomic cluster for Loreto of what we will deal with at another time.

The event closed the presentation of the president of COFIDE, Carlos Linares Peñaloza, with the theme 'Financing the development of Loreto: Policies and Mechanisms of COFIDE', punctuating the products offered by the Financial Development Corporation to the community Loretana business.

Some reflections

This important event in the capital of the Peruvian Amazon allows you to chill some ideas and proposals:

1.- It is essential to have expert knowledge in the regions to carry out projects of high technological content and field skills.

2.- Without entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who complement technologists, communicators, financiers and academics, productive development and social advancement are not possible.

3.- The participation of regional and local governments is vital as facilitators of processes that require public goods and services for their achievement and consolidation.

4.- Today's world is one of networks and alliances; this is much more applicable in physically remote (or isolation-prone) environments such as Iquitos.

5.- For the richness of biological diversity you need multidisciplinary teams that combine science and business skills like those mentioned in this summary.

Citing RIMISP's Equiterra [i]magazine, territorial dynamics are the result of factors – in addition to natural endowment – such as the region's links to dynamic markets, the diversified economy, the existence and connection with intermediate cities in the public goods and services available and social agreements or priorities that support the climate for sustainable investments.

In conclusion, it is worth highlighting the role of Lorente Reforest in the economic projection and favorable environmental impacts of its initiative and field-based work, which will allow the largest region of the national territory to gain a productive activity generating wealth and massive employment.


Lorente Reforest Sac