In 2004, representatives from various governmental institutes in Peru, including the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, PromPerú and INDECOPI, came together to form the Comisión Nacional de Productos Bandera (COPROBA).
COPROBA (the “National Committee on Flagship Products”) was tasked with promoting the quality and sale of certain products made in Peru, flagship exports known as the productos bandera del Perú. According to INDECOPI:
“Flagship products of Peru are products or cultural expressions whose origin or processing have taken place in Peruvian territory with characteristics that represent the image of Peru outside the country. The Comisión Nacional de Productos Bandera (COPROBA) is the Peruvian agency that aims to achieve an exportable supply and consolidate its presence in international markets.” (Guia Informativa: Productos Bandera del Perú, 2013)
As of July 2013, COPROBA includes the following 12 Peruvian exports on its list of flagship products:
01 of 12Peru is famous for its camelids: alpacas, llamas, guanacos and vicuñas. Alpaca and vicuña fibers are particularly valuable exports. According to INDECOPI’s Guia Informativa, Peru provides 89 percent of the global demand for alpaca fiber, with Bolivia covering the majority of the remaining 11 percent. Peru also exports products made from camelid leather, again primarily from the alpaca.
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Pisco is a type of brandy, or aguardiente, produced primarily along the southern coast of Peru (in the administrative regions of Lima, Ica, Tacna, Arequipa and Moquegua). An acquired taste when drunk neat, pisco is more commonly consumed in Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour (the most famous of the pisco-based cocktails). The Pisco Sour was declared part of Peru’s National Cultural Heritage in 2007; Peruvians celebrate Pisco Sour Day on the first Saturday of February and Pisco Day on the fourth Sunday of July.
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Lúcuma ( Pouteria lucuma) is a sub-tropical fruit belonging to a flowering tree ( lúcumo) of the Sapotaceae family. In Peru, the fruit’s yellow flesh is often used in fruit juices, ice creams and other sweets. Lúcuma is often exported and sold abroad in powdered form. Due to its high levels of carotene, vitamin B3, and other B vitamins, it is frequently marketed as a “superfood.”
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Peruvian GastronomyThe idea of Peruvian gastronomy ( gastronomía del Perú) might seem a little vague as an export, but it is certainly at the forefront in terms of promoting the country abroad. Peru’s top chefs have become the nation’s informal ambassadors, with Gastón Acurio leading the way. His Astrid & Gastón and La Mar restaurant franchises have helped introduce Peruvian cuisine to an international audience, with other chains such as La Caravana and Pardo’s Chicken taking Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) to the global market.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Peru produces three varieties of the Gossypium barbadense species of cotton (algodón): tangüis, áspero and pima. The latter, Peruvian Pima cotton, is an Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton grown primarily along the north coast of Peru. It is one of the most luxurious cottons available on the global market, rivaling those of Egypt and other high-quality cotton producers.
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MacaMaca ( Lepidium meyenii) is another Peruvian product that often carries the “superfood” label in foreign markets. Although actual scientific research is limited, maca is commonly believed to increase physical stamina, boost energy levels and enhance sexual function. Maca is the root of an Andean plant that grows in Junín and Cerro de Pasco at more than 13,000 feet (4,000 m) above sea level. It can be taken in various forms, including as a pill, as a liquid extract or as a powder (powdered maca root).
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Chulucanas CeramicsChulucanas-style ceramics are made in a specific part of Northern Peru: the Chulucanas District of the Piura Region. The area is famous for its distinctive pottery, ceramics that often bear vibrant black and white designs. Locals have produced ceramics in Chulucanas since pre-Inca times and their pottery is now exported all over the globe.
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Peru is the world’s second largest producer of asparagus (espárrago) -- second only to China -- and was the world’s biggest exporter of asparagus in 2012. Peru benefits from a window for asparagus exports between November and January, a period in which almost no other country exports the product. According to a report by Andina in November 2012, “asparagus exports from Peru totaled US$220.6 million between January and September 2012,” with the U.S.A. being the major export destination. Asparagus is cultivated along the coastal strip of Southern Peru. Despite the massive amounts of asparagus grown in Peru, the vegetable does not feature heavily in Peruvian cuisine or in Peru’s many markets -- it is grown almost exclusively for export.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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CoffeeCoffee ( café) is one of Peru’s principal agricultural exports alongside asparagus and fresh grapes. Coffee cultivation is of great socio-economic importance in Peru, with 150 thousand producers -- both large and small -- occupying about 330 thousand hectares. Peru is the third-largest coffee grower in South America behind Brazil and Colombia. Production has dropped in 2013 due to an ongoing battle against a plant fungus called coffee leaf rust.
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Peru was the world’s third-largest silver producer in 2012 behind Mexico and China (see Top 20 Silver Producing Countries in 2012, The Silver Institute). The country has a long history of silverware and silver jewelry production, from pre-Columbian cultures such as the Chimu, Moche and Inca to contemporary Peruvian artists and artisans.
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The Peruvian Paso horse (Caballo Peruano de Paso) is known internationally for its graceful natural gait and all-round elegance. Bred in relative isolation for four centuries, the Peruvian Paso developed with little crossbreeding from outside the original Spanish stock, which first arrived in Peru with Francisco Pizarro in the 1530s. Prior to the 1980s, the breed was relatively unknown outside Peru. During the last 25 years, however, exports of the Peruvian Paso have increased to destinations including Europe, Australia and the Far East.
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Quinoa (quinua, from the Quechua name kinwa) is the latest addition to the list of Peru’s flagship products, having been declared a producto bandera on March 25, 2013. The grain-like crop is grown primarily for its edible seeds; the Incas considered it a “mother grain” and a vital part of their diet. Quinoa has yet to become a household name internationally, but its reputation is certainly on the rise. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, recognizing the huge potential of this so-called “supercrop.”