Seeing that the Alto Putumayo is a very remote and isolated area, the Peruvian authorities show but little interest for this forgotten corner of Peru. Many difficulties arise from the fact that the area is so hard to access: competent authorities are out of reach, and very few NGOs are active in the area, due to the high operating costs. Social support is limited to an absolute minimum. There is a severe lack of affordable public transport, (high-quality) education and health care.
The cost of basic (food) commodities is extremely high. The Kichwa and Secoya live mainly off the forest and the rivers around them, but for products such as rice, bullets, clothes and petrol, they pay up to three times the price they would normally pay in the regional capital Iquitos. In addition to that, in such a remote and sparsely populated area it is very hard to earn some income which enables you to buy these things.
The population suffers, among other things, from illegal logging from Colombian traders (with or without the local population's consent); the cultivation and sale of coca leaves; the presence of the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC; the presence of the Colombian army and malicious Colombian traders. The Secoya and the Kichwa have been searching for economic alternatives for a long time, which would protect them from these illegal practices, and would give them a strong case against the model for development imposed on them by the Peruvian government, based on oil extraction.
In addition, the access to correct and reliable information is limited. The information comes mainly from Colombian radio and television. Mutual communication is also complicated due to the large distances and the lack of means of communication. One cause of concern is the way the communities are integrated in their federations. Often decisions are taken without full participation, simply because the information flow towards the communities is so ineffective.