Huando Oranges, Huaral, Peru

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Martin Hash
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Huando Oranges, Huaral, Peru

Post by Martin Hash » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:20 am

In 1969, Peru had a military coup that then proceeded to “agrarian reform,” which meant breaking up large farms and giving the land to the workers. There was some justification since it successfully stemmed a Marxist uprising, but most of the once successful, Huando Orange orchards in Huaral, Peru, ultimately failed. The reason is obvious: it was the opposite of economies of scale and specialization; instead of one rich family running the orchard like a business, 500 former low-paid workers each expected their 1/500th share of the land to make themselves and their families wealthy. The oranges literally priced themselves out of the market, and there was no way manual labor could be replaced by automation. Eventually the co-op went bankrupt, and nobody was employed. The quaint little town which depended on the orchards for survival disintegrated. Heart-breakingly, the once-grand hacienda was abandoned, it’s property in decay though it does provide the town with the meager income from tourists fascinated with how the rich lived.

Guard Tower at Orchard.JPG

Here and there are vestiges of the once great orchard, small plots surrounded by walls with barbed wire and watchtowers to keep out the thieves. The families who own them have turned them into tourist attractions; they sell local wines, play local music, and take you into the orchard where you get to pick an orange of our own. I was disappointed to find that the one we picked was a tangerine because I wanted to try a real Huando orange but it turns out they are almost extinct. The homemade ice cream was good though.

(Gwynne in Orchard)
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