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All you need to know about importing from Peru

Find out how to import superfood from Peru

by Steven Nyland, OrganicCrops. Posted on 30 March 2017, 16:42 hrs

Discover the wonders of importing from Peru, a country that has emerged as a powerhouse in the agricultural export industry. With a rapidly growing economy and remarkable stability in the Latin American region, Peru has captured the attention of consumers worldwide. The bountiful offerings from the Peruvian Andes and lush jungle regions have sparked a global fascination with their delectable and nourishing products. As a result, an increasing number of companies are choosing to import from Peru. From the renowned quinoa to the exquisite raw cacao nibs made from Criollo cacao beans, as well as sought-after treasures like dehydrated aguaymanto, camu camu powder, and sacha inchi oil, Peru has cemented its reputation for producing exceptional organic food products. Join us as we delve into the comprehensive guide on importing from Peru, unlocking a world of quality and flavor.

As a trusted exporter of Peruvian superfood products, we understand the importance of addressing the inquiries and concerns that arise during the export process. We regularly encounter a diverse range of questions, covering topics such as commercial transactions, sample requests, quantities, certifications, and the necessary export paperwork. While each export situation may present unique circumstances, we have compiled a comprehensive set of information to address the most frequently asked questions. Our goal is to provide clarity and guidance, ensuring that our clients have a clear understanding of the export process and the steps involved. With this valuable resource, we aim to assist you in navigating the intricacies of exporting from Peru, enabling a smooth and successful trade experience.

Lima city skyline

Background information

Peru, the third largest country in South America, boasts abundant natural resources and is divided into three distinct regions: the coast, the highlands, and the jungle. With an estimated combined population of 31.2 million (2015), approximately 80% of Peruvians reside in urban areas, with one-third living in the capital city of Lima. While Spanish is the official language, many regions of Peru still widely speak Quechua. The currency used is the Nuevo Sol, denoted as "S/", with a currency code of PEN. Peru's exchange rate, driven by non-speculative market forces, remains one of the most stable in Latin America.

Peru has shown a strong commitment to free trade, resulting in its emergence as one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America. With a GDP of around US$181 billion (2016 est.), Peru has maintained an average annual growth rate of 5.6% over the past five years, reaching just over 5% in 2013. It has consistently recorded the highest growth rate and the lowest inflation in the region over the past decade. As the economy has flourished, poverty levels in Peru have steadily declined. However, while Peru remains a leading force in economic growth in the region, its per capita GDP still lags behind neighboring countries.

Peruvian girl in traditional clothes with alpacaPeru has actively embraced free trade, with over 80% of its trade covered by Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with entities such as the European Union, the United States of America, Canada, and many Asian countries. The country played a pivotal role in founding the Pacific Alliance bloc and continues to actively participate in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, Peru is ranked among the top ten most biodiverse countries in the world, housing 84 out of the 117 recognized life zones on the planet. This ecological diversity provides Peru with a significant advantage, as crops can be cultivated year-round. With over 8 million hectares available for agricultural cultivation, Peru has emerged as a major player on the global agriculture stage.

When engaging in business with Peru, the process is similar to conducting business with other countries. While some small private sector companies may have English-speaking personnel, the majority of businesses primarily communicate in Spanish. As a result, it may take some time to receive a response. Peruvian business culture values tradition and may be more resistant to new developments or changes.

Understanding the background and business landscape of Peru sets the stage for successful partnerships and endeavors within the country's thriving agricultural sector.

How do I know the product has been cultivated/produced organically?

Ensuring that the products you import from Peru have been cultivated and produced organically is crucial. To verify their organic status, you can request a copy of the organic certification documents issued by internationally recognized quality control and certification bodies such as Control Union, EcoCert, Ceres, or Kiwa. These organizations have offices or representatives in Peru, making it easier to access the necessary documentation. As an importer, you can also request a transfer certificate for a small fee, further validating the organic credentials of the products.

In addition to the organic certification, we highly recommend asking for a batch-specific Certificate of Analysis (COA). This document provides detailed information about the specific batch of the product, including test results and analysis. At OrganicCrops, we utilize GroenAgro, a reputable testing facility based in the Netherlands, for comprehensive testing against all known pesticide markers. The testing process, including the issuance of an extensive report and certificate, typically takes around one week and incurs a cost ranging from USD 200 to 400. This thorough testing ensures that our products meet the highest organic standards and provide you with peace of mind regarding their quality.

By requesting the organic certification documents and a batch-specific COA, you can confidently ascertain that the products you import from OrganicCrops have been cultivated and produced organically, meeting your expectations for premium organic goods.

Aerial shot of the Port of Callao, Lima, Peru.

Why is there a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?

The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is determined based on various factors, including the cost of exporting and logistical considerations. In the case of Peru, the main exporting harbor is often the port of Callao (Lima), which incurs significant local costs. Freight agents and handling companies at Callao charge by the hour or part of a day, making it one of the most expensive harbors in the world.

Dry agricultural products, such as cacao powder, maca powder, sacha inchi powder, and others, undergo extensive customs and narcotics inspections during the export process. This inspection process involves unpacking the pallets, placing the bags or boxes in specific inspection areas, and often taking product samples for laboratory testing. Once the inspection is completed, the bags/boxes are repacked, pallets are reassembled, and returned to the warehouse. This operation can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to a few days to complete.

For small shipments, such as 100 kg, the costs associated with clearing customs, transportation, storage, loading, and other logistics can amount to approximately USD 1000. However, a 20-foot container with 10,000 kg on pallets usually incurs costs of around USD 2000. Thus, the difference in port and handling costs between a shipment of 100 kg and 10,000 kg is only USD 1000. When factoring in the additional expenses for obtaining the necessary export paperwork, the per kg product price can significantly increase.

To ensure cost efficiency and make the export process viable, a Minimum Order Quantity is set. This quantity allows for the consolidation of shipments, reducing the individual cost per unit and making the export process more economically feasible for both the exporter and importer.

Understanding the rationale behind the Minimum Order Quantity helps shed light on the logistical and cost considerations involved in exporting from Peru. By optimizing shipment sizes, we can provide you with competitive pricing while maintaining the quality and integrity of our products. See below example calculation:

OrganicCrops minimum order quantity explained

The above pictured example applies specifically to exporting via ocean freight. However, it's important to note that when using air freight, the cost of exporting is generally lower, while the actual freight cost tends to be higher. This dynamic makes air freight a more cost-effective option for smaller quantities.

When dealing with small quantities, opting for air freight can yield advantages in terms of cost efficiency. While the overall export expenses may be lower, it's important to consider that the freight cost itself will be higher due to the nature of air transportation.

By leveraging air freight for smaller quantities, importers can enjoy reduced export costs while ensuring a quicker delivery time. This flexibility allows for more tailored and efficient logistics management, optimizing the transportation process based on the specific needs and requirements of each shipment.

At OrganicCrops, we understand the importance of offering both ocean and air freight options to accommodate the varying needs of our clients. Whether it's large-scale orders or smaller quantities, we strive to provide cost-effective solutions that maintain the integrity and quality of our products throughout the entire export process.

Determining Product Quality: Important Considerations

Callao storage

  1. Request Samples: The most effective way to assess the quality of a product is by requesting samples from Peruvian exporters. Many exporters are able to provide samples, allowing you to examine the product firsthand and evaluate its quality attributes.
  2. Third-Party Quality Assurance: For complete peace of mind, you have the option to engage a reputable quality assurance company to conduct a thorough quality check and verification process on your behalf. Many certification organizations that issue organic certifications also offer quality assurance services. These companies will visit the production site, processing facilities, and warehouses to conduct inspections based on your specified terms and regulations. This process typically takes 1-2 weeks and includes the issuance of a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
  3. Internal Quality Control: Like OrganicCrops, most companies have their own internal quality control measures in place. You can inquire about an internal Quality Assurance (QA) certificate, which serves as a testament to the company's commitment to maintaining high-quality standards. This certificate is signed and stamped, providing a level of assurance and holding legal significance.

By leveraging these methods, you can ensure that the products you import meet your desired quality standards. Whether through firsthand evaluation of samples, third-party quality assurance checks, or internal quality control measures, taking proactive steps to assess product quality is crucial in establishing a reliable supply chain and delivering exceptional products to your customers.

Ensuring Delivery After Payment: A Guide to Payment Terms and Security

  1. Establishing Trust: When working with a Peruvian exporting company for the first time, building trust can be a challenge. Beyond a professional website and email correspondence, it can be difficult to establish a relationship. However, understanding the standard practices and commercial transactions defined by the International Chamber of Commerce's INCO terms can provide a framework for the procurement process.

OrganicCrops exports superfood products from Peru

  1. Payment Terms: Exporting companies typically outline their payment terms in their offers or quotations. It is crucial to inquire about the payment terms when discussing products and prices. Various payment options may be available, such as full prepayment, documents against payment, partial prepayment, or letter of credit. Each option has its own benefits and considerations, and it's important to choose the payment method that aligns with your preferences and risk tolerance.
  2. INCO Terms: INCO terms play a vital role in defining the responsibilities and obligations of both the exporter and the importer. Familiarize yourself with the relevant INCO terms that apply to your transaction, as they will outline the specific delivery and payment responsibilities.
  3. OrganicCrops Payment Terms: At OrganicCrops, we operate with specific payment terms based on the order value and type of order. For orders with a subtotal greater than USD 50,000, we require a 100% bank deposit (T/T), and documents are transmitted via courier and/or electronically. For orders with a subtotal below USD 50,000, private label orders, air freight orders, and local orders, we also require a 100% bank deposit (T/T) upon order placement. For Full Container Load (FCL) orders, documents are transmitted via courier and/or electronically, while Less than Container Load (LCL) orders have electronic transmission only (bill of lading telex release).

To further understand payment terms and security measures, we recommend referring to reputable resources such as,, and These sources provide valuable insights into pricing, payment options, and securing the transaction process.

By familiarizing yourself with payment terms, understanding INCO terms, and researching best practices, you can ensure a secure and reliable transaction process when importing from Peru.

Understanding Pricing Terms: FOB, EXW, and More

  1. FOB (Free On Board): FOB is a commonly used pricing term that stands for "Free On Board." It indicates that the seller is responsible for delivering the goods onto the vessel nominated by the buyer at the specified port of shipment, or procures the goods already delivered onto the vessel. FOB pricing applies specifically to ocean freight shipments. It's important to note that the correct usage of FOB implies delivery on board an ocean vessel.
  2. EXW (Ex-works): Another frequently used pricing term is EXW, which stands for "Ex-works." In an EXW arrangement, the price quoted is for the goods at the seller's premises or production facility. It does not include packaging for bulk or export purposes. When the price does not specify an INCO term such as FOB or EXW, it is typically assumed to be EXW. In such cases, it is crucial to inquire about additional costs associated with clearing and exporting the shipment.
  3. CFR and CIF: FOB prices can be upgraded to CFR (Cost and Freight) or CIF (CFR + Insurance) by incorporating the ocean freight component. These terms involve the seller arranging and covering the cost of transportation to the specified port of destination, with CIF also including insurance coverage.
  4. FCA (Free Carrier) Incoterm: If you have previously imported from Peru and have a contracted freight forwarding company, you may opt for the FCA Incoterm. Under FCA, the exporting company will package the product for export, handle the required export paperwork, and deliver the cargo to your designated freight forwarder's warehouse in Peru, whether by ship, airplane, or truck.

Workers busy with loading of containers in the port of Callao.At OrganicCrops, we primarily offer prices on an FOB basis. However, we also publish a monthly price document that states prices as EXW. If desired, FOB can be manually added to combine products based on your specific buying requirements. It's important to note that local destination charges are typically not included in quotations provided by exporting companies. To obtain a comprehensive quote that covers local costs, customs, duty, unloading, clearing, documentation, and transport, it is recommended to consult with a local freight agent.

Understanding the nuances of pricing terms such as FOB, EXW, CFR, CIF, and FCA allows you to make informed decisions when negotiating and finalizing import agreements. It is advisable to consult with freight agents and freight forwarding companies to obtain accurate and detailed quotations that encompass all relevant costs associated with your specific import requirements.

Export Timelines: Understanding Lead Times and Shipping Procedures

  1. Product Export Lead Time: The duration required for exporting products varies depending on the specific product. The lead time refers to the time it takes to complete the necessary clearance procedures and load the goods onto the vessel or airplane. Some products are already packaged in bulk/export packaging and stored in warehouses, ready for export. Others are processed to order, sometimes at facilities located a 2-3 day drive away from Callao, Lima. As an importer, it is essential to inquire about the lead time for your desired products. At OrganicCrops, we maintain a minimum lead time of 8-10 days for all orders, allowing us to efficiently handle export paperwork, certifications, inspections, and other necessary arrangements. For orders requiring a Certificate of Analysis (COA), an additional 5-7 working days should be considered to allow for sample testing in the Netherlands.

  2. Container vessel at the port of Callao, LimaOcean Freight: In the case of ocean freight, the port of Callao operates with a cut-off time ranging from three to five days. This means that the shipment must be present at the port of Callao at least three days before the scheduled departure of the vessel. This timeframe allows sufficient time for customs inspections, SENASA phytosanitary inspections, loading procedures, and logistical planning. However, customs may occasionally order additional inspections, which can potentially result in shipping delays.

  3. Air Freight: The export procedure for air freight shipments follows a similar process to that of ocean freight, with faster loading and clearing times. It's important to note that airlines often prioritize fresh produce shipments over dry-goods shipments. As a result, dry-goods shipments may occasionally be rescheduled to accommodate the prioritized cargo. Rest assured, we will keep you well-informed of any updates regarding the shipping progress.

By understanding the lead time required for exporting products, as well as the specific procedures and considerations involved in both ocean and air freight shipments, you can effectively plan your import activities and anticipate any potential shipping delays. We strive to provide transparent and timely communication, ensuring that you are informed throughout the shipping process.

Can Peru comply with my countries import regulations?

Peru's Commitment to Trade: Peru's government has actively worked to reduce trade barriers, with more than 85% of its trade covered by Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that include Europe, the USA, and many countries in Asia. This commitment to open trade has facilitated smoother import and export processes.

As part of our commitment to transparent and compliant trade practices, OrganicCrops issues a comprehensive set of documents with each export order. These documents ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitate smooth customs clearance. The documents we provide include:

  1. Certificate of Origin: We issue a Certificate of Origin for each product, evidencing its origin in Peru. Please note that in some cases, certain importing countries may have specific regulations that prevent the issuance of a Certificate of Origin.
  2. Commercial Invoice: A Commercial Invoice is provided for duty purposes, providing a detailed breakdown of the goods being exported.
  3. Proforma Invoice: The Proforma Invoice outlines the details of the order, including pricing, quantities, and terms. It serves as an export contract between OrganicCrops and the importer.
  4. Purchase Order: A copy of the Purchase Order is included, serving as additional evidence of the export contract.
  5. Packing List: We provide a comprehensive packing list that details all the items included in the cargo.
  6. Airway Bill/Bill of Lading: The Airway Bill or Bill of Lading acts as a receipt of goods and provides evidence of shipment.
  7. Destination-Specific Documentation: For certain destinations, we issue specific documentation as required. Examples include the "Non-Fumigation Statement," "Non-Animal Testing Statement," "Packaging Statement," and more. These documents ensure compliance with specific importing country regulations.

Optional Additional Documentation

At an additional charge, we offer optional documentation such as a Phytosanitary Certificate, Batch/Lot-specific Certificate of Analysis (COA) provided by GroenAgro in the Netherlands, OrganicCrops Quality Control Certificate, and Organic (Transfer) Certification, as well as other cultivation documentation such as Kosher and Fairtrade certifications.

Aerial shot of the Port of Callao, Lima, Peru.


SENASA, Peru's National Agricultural Health Service, operates under the Ministry of Agriculture and is responsible for regulating and controlling food safety, agricultural safety, and organic production. Similar to the FDA in the United States, SENASA conducts inspections, provides guidance, and enforces regulations. SENASA carries out phytosanitary inspections upon request and issues phytosanitary certificates, which are mandatory for certain exports, such as quinoa and chia.

Specific documentation

If your country has specific documentation requirements, OrganicCrops will make every effort to comply. Importing countries often have specific regulations regarding labels, export letters, responsibility statements, and more. Please notify us in advance to allow sufficient time to organize any additional required documents.

Delivery of Export Documentation: For orders with an FOB value of USD 50,000 or more, the paperwork is sent separately via courier. For orders with an FOB value below USD 50,000, the documents are emailed as PDF copies. In the case of air freight shipments, the documents are always sent alongside the shipment.

At OrganicCrops, we prioritize regulatory compliance and strive to provide all necessary export documentation to ensure smooth customs clearance and a seamless importing process for our clients.

Where do I find more information about importing from Peru?

  • Sierra Exportadora is a government organization that supports Peruvian exporters with promotion, advice, marketing, etc. They are also there to help foreign companies get in touch with the right supplier. They are based in Lima. You can email them via:
  • PromPeru Superfoods from Peru. Promperu is part of the Ministry of Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) and is the designated government agency to promote doing business in Peru.
  • is the news-site for anything and everything in the agricultural sector in Peru. Besides news, you can find a wealth of information regarding market prices, products, suppliers, etc.
  • is the source of information for the quinoa market in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. The website collects and publishes quinoa related news from all over the world. Edit January 2019, it seems is no longer updating its website.
  • The World Bank 'doing business with' Peru profile.

About OrganicCrops

OrganicCrops is a Peruvian agricultural trading company that exports premium quality superfood products such as quinoa, maca, and cacao. Our fair trade way of working ensures that indigenous Peruvian farmers receive fair compensation for their crops.


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