Work in   Peru
All About
 
Farming
One out of every ten people in Peru are farmers. These farm families usually own a small piece of land that allows them to grow or raise enough food for their own needs.

People who do not own their own land work on large co-operative farms owned by groups of farmers. 

Men in search of work might travel long distances to work on these farms. 


Even though Peru has a great deal of land in tropical and coastal areas, there is not a lot of good soil for growing crops. 

The coast of Peru is very dry but the 53 rivers that flow to the Pacific Ocean from the Andes allow the land in the river valleys that cut across the plain to be irrigated and grow crops.  The farms here are small and usually without modern tractors or other farm machinery.

The native people who live near the Andes have used terraced land for growing potatoes since the time of the Incas.

Fishing
Fishing is also very important along the coast, especially for exports to other countries. The cold water along the coast is rich in plankton. A large number of anchoveta, a small net-caught fish, accounts for about 80% of all fish caught by Peruvian fishermen. These are turned into fishmeal that is sold to other countries for feeding livestock like cattle.

Other Industries
Besides fishing, mining is important for trade with other countries. Peru is one of the world's largest producers of copper, silver, lead and zinc. Petroleum and natural gas make up a large part of Peru's export earning. Many people work in these industries and in the production of clothing, food and metalworking. 

Most of the large cities and towns along the coast have developed industries such as steel-making, chemical and petrochemical production or factories that produce vehicles.

Work in The Andes Highlands
In the Andes people start their day early in the morning, looking after the animals, cutting eucalyptus for firewood and fetching water. The men often go to distant chacras, or small portions of farmland high in the mountain valleys to work. This makes it necessary for the farmers to stay in small huts on the land away from their homes for several days. 
Important farm crops in the highlands include potatoes, corn, coffee, cotton and sugar cane. Other crops like bananas, grapes, olives, rice and other vegetables are also grown. Most of the food crops are grown to meet the needs of the people of Peru. Animals such as poultry, cattle and sheep along with  native animals such as llamas and guinea pigs are raised for food.
Women and girls are often found spinning the llama and alpaca wool that will be woven by local weavers into clothing, blankets and ponchos. 

Women in the Workplace
More and more women are taking paid jobs in larger cities. Women in more well-off families work part time to provide extra income for the family. 
In large cities, many poor women are responsible for looking after their families while their husbands work many hours outside the home. 

Life Among the Poor

More than one-half of Peru's people live in poverty and cannot provide for their basic needs. Many people cannot find work and live in squatter settlements made up of shacks or "chabolas" built from found materials. These chabolas have no electricity or running water. The people survive as scavengers, or by selling drugs on the street. 
Life in these settlements, called tugurios, is a constant scramble for survival. The men leave their chabolas very early and travel long distances on buses to reach their work sites. Most often these men work at construction jobs without hard hats or safety shoes.  They carry iron bars, bricks or buckets of cement around the worksite all day. With so many men desperate for work, construction of buildings usually happens without the help of modern machines or equipment.

The women in the squatter settlements do many different jobs to keep their families alive, jobs like bringing water from corner faucets, preparing food over kerosene stoves, and doing paid work when it is available. Often the women and children are abandoned by their husbands and left with the full responsibility of support their children.
The government of Peru has tried to provide some help for people in great need through special programs. Voluntary organizations, many from other countries, also try to provide assistance.Street Vendors
An important part of the economy of large cities like Lima are the tens of thousands of street vendors, many of them women, who sell food or handmade goods in the streets or public squares of the cities. These street vendors have been an important part of life in the cities, especially Lima, for the past 500 years. The city government has tried to remove them to special "market" places but has been unable to do so because of the number of people who take part.
Domestic Servants
Many wealthy families also hire a servant, usually a young girl to do housework or look after younger children. A common sign found in front of many houses in wealthier parts of Lima might read, "Se necesita muchacha" ("girl needed") or "empleada" (employee).

Most of these servant positions are taken by young highland women who move to urban areas (cities) to find work. About one of every five women working in Lima are domestic servants to wealthy families. 
These jobs do not pay very much but they are used by the young women as a first step toward a better life. Since 1991, the government has made rules to provide fair wages and opportunities to attend school for these young women. 

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