Agriculture has been the traditional economic activity of pre-Hispanic Peru, where products such as corn and potatoes were intensively cultivated, pre-Hispanic settlers adapted to the conditions of the environment, and because of the lack of open spaces, terrace systems were created (platforms) converting the limitations of the slope into advantages in the use of space. Animals such as alpaca, llamas and guinea pigs were also domesticated, responding to a theocratic, pantheistic and premodern view of the world, where collective work carried out by families (aillu) allowed the development of agricultural activities as a basis for the Andean economy. The main Peruvian agricultural products are: potato, rice, corn, sweet potato, maca, wheat, quinoa, coffee, as well as fruits: apple, pear, grape, peach, banana and vegetables: beans, onions, tomatoes, garlic.


After more than twenty years of being discovered, the natural gas field located in Camisea, department of Cuzco, began to be exploited and its production is currently destined mainly for domestic consumption and the Peruvian highlands; and the surplus is sold abroad. This gas from Camisea arrived in Lima in August 2004. Gas exploitation, together with mining, are the sectors with the greatest investment potential due to the quality and abundance of resources.


The country has an expectant competitive position in world mining, maintaining the mining leadership in Latin America and a solid history and mining history. In the Latin American market, it is the largest producer of gold, zinc, lead and tin; registering an annual production of 164 metric tons and reserves estimated at 2 762 000 tons. It is also the second producer of silver and copper, in addition to producing other important metallic and non-metallic products.

The Yanacocha mine is the main source of gold extraction in Peru. It is considered the largest gold mine in South America and the second largest in the world. In 2005, 3 333 088 ounces of the precious metal were produced. An indicator of mining growth, we can observe it in mining exports, having grown from US $ 1447 million in 1990 to US $ 27 745 million in 2017.

Marine resources

The exploitation of marine resources such as anchovy, croaker, sole, bonito, parakeet and horse mackerel are vital for the Peruvian economy. Anchovy, for example, is fishmeal, of which the country is the world’s largest producer, much of which is produced for the domestic market, especially coastal areas.


Peru was in 2011, in agribusiness, as the world’s leading producer of fishmeal, second world producer of asparagus, seventh world producer of corn, fourth world producer of artichokes, sixth world producer of coffee, in mining as the third world producer of silver, copper and zinc, the fourth world producer of lead and tin, the fifth world producer of gold, as well as having large deposits of iron, tin, manganese; besides oil and natural gas.

It is also the world’s leading producer of alpaca wool, and the most important exporter of cotton textiles in Latin America and its natural wealth is an excellent place for the development of the polymer industry worldwide. The country is in a stage of economic growth and is expected in the light of the agreements and treaties signed in free trade areas, it is constituted as one of the most attractive nations of South America to develop business.

One of the most recent economic activities and great potential is the exploitation of forest resources (cedar, oak and mahogany, mainly) that provides a large amount of income for the population of the jungle. It is expected that deforestation will be controlled and with large investments in reforestation. The National Service of Natural Protected Areas by the State is in charge of giving the necessary norms and controlling said projects, generating important sources of foreign currency for the country.

In terms of industrial development, we can mention a great variety of companies dedicated to domestic consumption and export. Nowadays the country produces and exports bodies for double-decker buses, mining machinery, generator sets, pumping equipment, pipes, tools and different metal-mechanical products. Also, chemical products such as acids and detergents, plastic products, textile products, paper and leather products, agro-industrial and food products. The great wealth of mineral resources (it is a polymetallic country), plant resources (immense variety of plants due to its rich biodiversity) and animal resources (livestock, fishery), makes Peru have great potential for extensive industrialization in the future very close.


The main products that Peru exported in the period of 1880-1914 were sugar, which came to represent 30% of the total of products exported; silver, representing 18%; copper 20% and finally, cotton with 26%. The country depended around 50% of exports. It is from 1920 when it began to export oil According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, in 2008, exports grew by 11.2%, marketing more than 5000 different products, reaching the amount of 31.236 million Dollars.

It is estimated that 62.1% of exports correspond to the mining sector. The main exports are copper, gold, zinc, textiles and fishery products; Its main trading partners are the United States, China, Brazil and Chile, the main export destinations of traditional and non-traditional products between January and September 2011, in order of importance by importers, China, the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Chile, Germany, South Korea, Spain and Italy. The growth rate of non-traditional exports with added value was 32% in 2011 compared to the previous year.

In recent years, there has been a process of industrialization of agricultural products (agro-industry) and export diversification. The number of export companies for the year 2011 increased to 8200. According to The Economist magazine, it is the sixth country with the highest economic growth in the world, and according to the World Bank the fifth country with the highest export growth. In the period 2006-2012 the number of exporting companies increased from 6505 to 8135, which represented a 25% growth.238 However, during the year 2012, in the midst of an economic cooling, 2465 companies stopped registering shipments, and the exports fell by 2% compared to the year 2011. According to Juan Varilias, former president of the Association of Exporters every year 2,500 exporting companies leave the market due to the lack of an adequate policy for the sector and problems with the country’s infrastructure.