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NZ help for poorest regions of Peru

NZ help for poorest regions of Peru

Two of the poorest rural regions of Peru will get New Zealand help to set up business and community targeted internet centres, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

NZAID, the governments aid agency will provide nearly $500,000 to set up the Centres of Information and Development. UNITEC institute of Technology in Auckland, in partnership with the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and a local educational resource organisation, Huascaran will manage the project.

The programme will set up a system of information and community development centres, using internet-capable computers linked to nearby satellite dishes.

"These centres are potentially life-changing for these communities," Marian Hobbs said. "People in the areas of Huancavelica and Apurimac base their income on potato farming and alpaca wool production. Now, farmers will be able to access the net to find markets and relevant economic data.

"One job already in the 'to-do' list: help farmers develop a suitable potato variety to supply a potato chip factory in Lima, which if successful will supply a guaranteed market for local growers.

"The whole community stands to benefit. If you're not a farmer, the centres will allow you to explore new business opportunities. Or you may just want to improve your educational opportunities or receive information on healthcare."

Each centre would be managed by a specially-trained local coordinator.

The project has received strong endorsement from many sectors in Peru, from Government Ministries to regional and local organisations. The Peruvian government's main priority is the alleviation of poverty. During a recent visit to Peru by New Zealand Ambassador, Richard Mann, Peruvian officials congratulated New Zealand for its support of the initiative.

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