April 13, 2024

Cartama Exports First-Ever Hass Avocado Shipments to Japan

Medellin-based avocado producer/exporter Cartama announced November 7 its first-ever exports of Hass avocados from its Pereira (Risaralda department) operations to Japan.

Cartama – founded in the year 2000 with its first plantations in Amagá, Antioquia – gradually has expanded Colombian operations to Caldas and Risaralda departments, including a packing plant in Pereira.

Three years ago, the company scored a big hit with UK-based supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, which awarded Cartama its “Growers Best Quality” award — following which Cartama expanded Colombian production to 515 hectares to serve its growing export markets to Europe and North America.

Together with partner Mission Produce, Cartama is now penetrating Asian markets via first container shipments from Risaralda to the Pacific port of Buenaventura, then onward to Yokohama, Japan, according to the company.

The Japanese market for Hass avocados is constantly growing, hitting 74,097 tonnes in 2018, up 22% year-on-year, according to the company. For the Japan market, Colombia will compete with producers from México, Perú and others, according to the company.

Japan consumers currently demand 0.5 kilograms of Hass avocados per-person/year — and with a population of 127 million, ample opportunities for Colombian export expansion are on the horizon, according to Cartama.

Chiyoda, Japan-based Farmind Corp. is the initial buyer of the Colombian exports, according to Cartama.

This first-ever Hass avocado container shipment from Colombia to Japan is the result of major private-sector and governmental initiatives, according to Cartama director Ricardo Uribe.

Colombia’s “Instituto Colombiano de Agricultura” (ICA) has been working with Hass producers seeking to expand exports, following recent successful initiatives in the USA and now Japan. China is next in line to receive Colombian avocado exports following rigorous efforts to meet sanitary requirements.

“We are making use of all post-harvest alternatives to guarantee optimal delivery of this fruit including application of substances to prevent disease, the use of ethylene filters within the shipping container [for ripening], temperature controls and [favorable] harvesting” techniques, Uribe added.

Besides ICA, other government agencies that have aided the breakthrough into the Japanese market include Colombian President Ivan Duque, trade-association Corpohass (Corporación de Productores y Exportadores de Aguacate Hass de Colombia), the Colombian Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Foreign Relations, and export-promotion agency Procolombia, Uribe added.

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