While out to dinner with Jaime and colleagues, our conversation meandered, sometimes about shared affinities for pop culture icons of the 80’s and 90’s like Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson, other times about the state of the nation in Peru or more specifically about things in Piura including the culture and food, and occasionally indirectly about business and expectations of what we can and should do as a group while here.

At one point, the topic of ceviche came up. For those of you that don’t know, ceviche is the national dish of Peru, but also served in central and South America. It is made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, garlic, and aji, as well as additional seasonings. It is amazingly delicious. The origins of ceviche are somewhat of a mystery, but it is generally considered to have originated in Peru. Peruvian ceviche is far and away the best, or so I am told. Jaime told us that ceviche in Piura is best served in Piura at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, right when the restaurants open due to its freshness. Ceviche should only be eaten fresh. Not only would eating less than fresh ceviche be detrimental to its taste, but it would also be potentially dangerous as bacteria accumulates exponentially over time.

After discussing ceviche, Jaime called the waiter over and discretely asks for a key lime cut in half. When the lime arrived, Jaime told us to hold our hands out. He held up the partitioned key lime and squeezed the juice onto our hands, then instructed us to taste it. The juice is sour, but perfectly balanced with a rich citrus flavor and sweet undertones. Jaime told us, “el limón es el secreto del ceviche peruano” (Lime is the secret to ceviche in Peru).

Within Peru, lime juice is a key ingredient in ceviche and also in the world-renowned cocktail ‘Pisco Sour’, of which there are many versions, but generally consists of pisco, lime juice, egg whites, and sweetener. Are the delicious limes the secret to Peru’s gastronomically renowned cuisine really attributed to the limes? The Piuran Lime has a Brix of 7-8, acidity of 8-8.6%, PH 1.5-2.2, and suspension solids of 10-12%. They have year round availability. Although the Peruvian key lime has yet to be differentiated from other key Latin American suppliers like Brazil and Mexico, the Piuran lime and its unique taste and qualities translate into potential for global exportation. Currently, only 0.05% of the limes produced in Piura are exported. This equates to an FOB value of only $USD 1.3 million. Because of the extensive cultivation of limes within the region and their immense potential to be exported further, it is an area that merits much further exploration, especially since 96% of the exports of limes in 2012 were sent to neighboring Chile. In terms of lime oils however, 26.9% of exports were sent to the US, 13.22% to the UK, 9.48% to Mexico, and 49.2% to the Netherlands. Lime oils are used for flavoring and in cosmetics globally. The problem with perishables like limes and in the extreme example of ceviche, the time constraints preclude them from ever reaching other

 

 parts of the world where there are markets and demand. Whether or not key limes play a role in Piura’s future development, the situation of key limes in Peru embody the reality in Piura, which is that the region is endowed with some of the richest lands

 and climates for agriculture as well as highly competent agriculturists who produce some of the highest quality cocoa, coffee, mangoes, etc. in the world. However due to infrastructure and supply chain constraints, they have not been able to capitalize on their superior quality to differentiate themselves from other suppliers and rise beyond their niche as suppliers of low margin primary materials.

As the hard infrastructure takes time and lots of capital to create, our focus at this point is developing the soft infrastructure in the form of organizational capabilities and optimizing the relationship between the public and private sectors. 

Actualization Strategy

 

As the first group in Piura created such an amazing curriculum for acculturating government teachers into global business through dissemination of key components and applications of business plans, we are striving to push their epistemological initiatives forward. Capitalizing on their foundation entails actualization of realizable business plans in both urban and more rural regions within Piura. Anticipating the challenge of having to bridge the gap between realistic know-how and minimal understanding of how to structure business plans, we have been preparing tools in the form of templates that will aid local constituents in developing realistic and realizable business plans. Equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the implications of their plans as well as the tangible ends that they serve in terms of being a means of securing government funding we have developed the first iteration for a process of expediting the business plan formulation process.