Jose Chlimper Board President Agrokasa, Ica

Dear Pepe:
I viewed the DVD of the meeting you had with the small farmers in the Caserio of Puno and the Puno Defense Committee for Water Rights on August 25, 2009. As you know, I am an advisor to the Committee. Agrokasa called this meeting from one day to the next, without the courtesy of any advance notice.
I would like this to be a positive communication, without sacrificing any of the principles which the people in Puno are fighting for. I believe that we may be able to resolve the problem which your Water Transfer Project poses for the people and prevent any violent conflict which might take place if you seek to impose the Project without full consultations with all of the actors in the Project zone and their approval.
The first things we need to clarify are the false statements which you made about my person at the August 25 meetings where I was not present. Here are some of the clarifications:
1-David Bayer made false statements about Agrokasa’s labor practices in the project protest letters sent to the IFC/World Bank.
If you read the two protest letters sent, mine and the one by Sra. Dominga and Sr. Ramon, you will see that my letter does not contain any statement about your labor practices but sticks to the issue of water problems. In fact, I have recognized publicly that Agrokasa has some of the best labor management practices and is a leader in this area. I criticized Dominga and Ramon for including the labor practices part in their protest. However, it is true that both protest letters were circulated to a larger Ica audience since the main issue is the public problem of water rights and aquifer collapse.
2- The above answers your false statement that David Bayer drafted both protest letters.
I drafted my letter and only my letter.
3- David Bayer is against Agrokasa because the company refused to donate funds to the Radio “La Achirana”.
This is an absurd statement. When I worked for USAID and the Radio was inaugurated in the 1990s, I was the “padrino” of the Radio. I do not recall ever asking you or Agrokasa for any donations. It is possible that someone else working with Radio “La Achirana” may have made such a request.

What is worse about this false statement by you during the August 25 meeting is that it belittles my work and role as a civil society advocate for water rights.
4- The data in the Water Overdraft Aquifer Table produced by Bayer is false.
The only false data was that produced by the World Bank study in November 2008 where the overdraft is estimated at 64 MMC yearly. We know that the real overdraft is nearly four times that amount, near 250 MMC. The real question is: why was there such a deliberate, large underestimate?
The argument by you, at the meeting, that one needs to be a water engineer in order to produce these tables and talk about water issues is not only spurious but reflects an attitude designed to reduce the participation of the larger population in decisions which are vital to their lives. It so happens that I have been dealing with agricultural and environmental issues as early as 1980, almost 20 years before you got into the agricultural business. Moreover I have a unique comparative perspective (U.S. and Peruvian agriculture) which gives me some historical insights that you do not have. I have worked as a farm advisor in California and lived on farms in Peru.
Up until now, no one has raised any issue with the Water Overdraft Aquifer Table. That does not mean that everything in the Table is perfect. But the estimates must be fairly close to the real situation at this point in time. The Table was carefully drafted over several months, after collecting information, from several sources, primarily from engineers who have been working on these issues for years. What is interesting is that no engineer has presented publicly a Water Overdraft Aquifer Table like mine which attempts to predict in how many years the aquifer will be dry unless we change the structure of production and water management practices. It has built into it, the flexibility to use different assumptions with regard to overdraft and the amount of water reserves which may be available.
Due to the fact that the structure of domination in Peru does not permit public functionaries or private engineers to be honest (the case of the “deliberate overdraft underestimate” is but one proof of this reality), I need to protect my sources. Moreover, if you or other agro-exporters have studies which contain different estimates, then they should be shared with the public. In general, it has been the practice of the agro-exporters in the Ica Valley to carefully “hide” or reduce public access to the water study documents and those related to water concessions or resolutions emitted by public water authorities. This apparently was the case with regard to Resolution 147 (28 December 2008) favoring Agrokasa in implementing its Water Transfer Project. All of this is against Peru’s transparency law. This is precisely why I work to bring these public issues to the people and to make sure that they have an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
The key people who began raising questions as early as 2000 about the water overdraft in Ica; the need to eliminate asparagus and substitute new, less water-intensive crops; the need to trap the millions of cubic meters of water which are lost

to the Pacific Ocean; and the need to recharge the aquifer through flood irrigation and the use of reservoirs have been none other than Alejandro Pavez, David Johnson and David Bayer. We were several years ahead of the Ica engineers and our publications prove it. I plan to continue to work in this area and hope to work with you and all the key actors despite the fact that some growers do not like it.
Let me make some more comments about the August 25 meeting in the Caserio de Puno and other activities which Agrokasa is implementing to get approval for the Water Transfer Project . It is not appropriate to blame the Puno Defense Committee for the Ica Valley water problems or for preventing the implementation of your Water Transfer Project. The Committee should not be blamed for the possible loss jobs. This tactic of pitting small farmer against small farmer and community member against community member is not only inappropriate but dangerous. It is not a good idea for Agrokasa to seek out signatures from its workforce to support the Water Transfer Project . Many of these workers are not residents in the potentially impacted area. This is a “manipulative” practice whereby Agrokasa is “forcing” a captive audience to sign its petitions. This is unbecoming of the generally excellent labor force management practices which have been the hallmark of Agrokasa’s farm operations.
As you know by now, I have insisted that Resolution 147, which the Ica Water Administrator issued to approve your Water Transfer Project , be declared NULL AND VOID. These are the reasons:
1- The ANA (National Water Authority) must demonstrate that water resources are not private but public property. No company is owner of the underground or above ground water resources. Your project implies that Agrokasa owns the water resources.
2- The ANA needs to establish its authority in this area or it will fail in its national goals.
3- The 147 Resolution contains the false statement that the Ica valley has excess underground water resources.
4- The 147 Resolution is incomplete and can be said to “hide” important information which the small farmers and people have a right to know. It does not name the water canals in the Achirana Irrigation Committee which will be used to house the Agrokasa “24 inch” aqueducts as water is moved from Santa Rita to La Catalina.
5- The Resolution does not spell out in its document that Agrokasa plans to move water across four (4) municipal districts: Santiago; Pueblo Nuevo; Tate; and Pachacutec. The Resolution 147 hides these facts and is a “partial”, inaccurate report.

6- All of the above leads to the most serious charge: the Resolution 147 ignores the ILO 169 Agreement (Convenio OIT-169) which calls for “consultations” and “approvals” previous to the implementation of any project which will possibly impact a large population. In effect the following instances have not been consulted or given their approval for the Water Transfer Project:
6.1- the Board of Directors of the Achirana-Santiago de Chocorvos Irrigation Committee.
6.2- the Irrigation Committee “General Assembly”.
6.3- the Mayors from the four (4) districts and their City councils.
6.4- the population in these four districts.
We have learned from the Bagua. 5 June 2009, experience that the lack of consultation and approval under the ILO 169 Agreement can lead to an explosive, violent situation. You heard very clearly from the Puno Defense Committee that they have stated their opposition on four different dates. One person explained that they have farmed in the area for five generations and another said that they are seeking DIGNITY (something as basic as running water and sewage…a toilet). We know that practically 100 percent of this rural population in the Ica valley gets potable water for one hour on some days and often has to wait two or more days for water. In the larger cities of Ica, Parcona and La Tinguina, the potable water supplies are decreasing and scarcity is a reality.
It is my contention that we need a Water Management Committee in Ica (Mesa Tecnica de Gestion del Agua de Ica =MEGAI) which brings together the four Irrigation Committees (Juntas: el Rio; La Achirana; Subterranean Water Junta in the Valley; and the Subterranean Water Junta in Villacuri) plus EMAPICA, the potable water company of Ica. It will need the participation of civil society groups and volunteers. We need discuss issues and present educational programs to the people in the MEGAI meetings. We need to reach consensus.
If you could present and defend your Water Transfer Project before the MEGAI,
then that would be much more positive than the current situation. We might find that several companies should implement the same strategy and all would be better off.
I would like to cite some of the positive parts of your presentation at the August 25 meeting and recommend some possible solutions to this problem. These are the positive things which you stated:
1-You have promised to use 1 percent less water each year. I am not sure what that means. Many it could be more than 1 percent. But it is a positive step.
2-You do not see the Ingahuasi Canal as a solution to Ica’s water problems. You know that I am working on this sensitive issue with the Ica and Huancavelica delegations. It is not easy and often frustrating for all parties.
3- You plan to establish 7 “lakes” in Santa Rita to recharge the aquifer. I have been promoting the idea of inundating the larger, agro-export, farms when there is an abundance of water. Almost 10,000 hectares (half the land in the old Valley) has not been flooded for nearly eight years.
4- You plan to replace 73 hectares of asparagus with grapes.
5- You have offered to establish a “Vigilance Committee” whose members may come from the “impacted” communities to oversee the Water Transfer Project .
For many people, Pepe, you are a leader. And my hope is that you lead in the right direction towards sustainable agricultural development. Many do not understand that I have the greatest respect for farmers, both small and large. Their business involves more risk than all others and is the most important since farmers produce the food we need to survive.
I would like you to widen your perspective and plan to promote an Agriculture Extension Program in the Valley of Ica which would promote fruits and nuts and other crops which use much less water. The water you pump could be shared with small farmers as it was in the past, before land reform, when small farmers purchased water from those who had wells. This Extension Program would aim to incorporate the small farmers into the export business by teaching them to “dry” their fruit. I am sure that you and the small farmers could enter into a “win-win” situation where all growers would earn more, have a more stable enterprise and open up the existing system, eliminating its exclusion of small producers. And , finally, move the Valley towards certified organic crops which would be the basis of Peru’s agricultural take-off.
I hope this clarifies what my role and goals are and why I advise the Puno Defense Committee.
David Bayer
P.O. Box 139
Ica, Peru
11 September 2009

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