Some 1 percent of Peru’s working population is engaged in farming, forestry, or fishing. Most of the coastal area is devoted to the raising of export crops; on the montaña and the sierra are mainly grown crops for local consumption. Many farms in Peru are very small and are used to produce subsistence crops; the country also has large cooperative farms. The chief agricultural products, together with the yield (in metric tons) in 2007, were sugarcane (8.2 million), root crops such as potatoes (5 million), rice (2.5 million), corn (1,361,656), seed cotton (213,266), coffee (230,000), and wheat (181,367).
Peru is one of the world’s leading growers of coca, from which the drug cocaine is refined. Coca leaves were used for years as a stimulant and appetite-suppressant by Native Americans of the sierra.
The livestock population included 5.3 million cattle, 15 million sheep, 2 million goats, 3 million hogs, 730,000 horses, 290,000 mules, and 100 million poultry. Llamas, sheep, and vicuñas provide wool, hides, and skins.
Forests cover 53 percent of Peru’s land area. Forest products include balsa lumber and balata gum, rubber, and a variety of medicinal plants.
Notable among the latter is the cinchona plant, from which quinine is derived. The roundwood harvest in 2007 was 9.4 million cu m (334 million cu ft).
The fishing industry contributes to the country’s economy and to its export revenues, although the government periodically imposes limits on fishing to prevent overfishing. Investment in processing plants during the 1960s turned Peru into a leading producer of fish products, especially fish meal. The fish catch in 2007 was 7 million metric tons. More than three-fifths of the catch is typically anchovies, used for making fish meal, a product in which Peru leads the world. Fish meal is used in animal feed and fertilizer. "Peru" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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