Top Antioquia Producers Hail U.S. Decision Enabling Avocado Exports
Two of Antioquia’s leading producers of Hass avocados on August 15 hailed a new decision by the U.S. government to allow imports of Colombian avocados into the U.S. market starting September 15.
“Unlike Peru and Chile, Colombia enjoys permanent production of Hass avocados during 12 months of the year,” said Ricardo Uribe Lalinde, general manager of Medellin-based Cartama, a group of leading Colombian companies producing avocados and cut flowers for major export markets.
“At a time when the North American market demand for Hass avocados remains unsatisfied, here in our country we can supply it,” he added.
Having first launched Hass avocado production in Amaga, Antioquia in 2007, Cartama later expanded production into Caldas and Risaralda, and then opened a packing and shipping plant in Pereira for the export market in 2016.
Also during 2016, British supermarket chain Marks and Spencer awarded Cartama with its “Growers Best Quality” certification for Colombian Hass avocados.
The new U.S. approval would at least double Colombian exports of Hass avocados, which already topped US$25 million through the first half of 2017, according to Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
Meanwhile, Pedro Aguilar, president of Westsole Fruit Colombia — which has major warehouse, packing and shipping facilities on the Medellin-Bogota highway in Antioquia — added that Colombian avocado producer insistence upon meeting strict sanitary standards has been crucial to winning more export markets.
Of the US$35 million in avocado exports from Colombia in 2016, 52.7% of the total came from Antioquia; 22.7% from Risaralda; 7.4% from Bogotá; 5.8% from Caldas; 4.6% from Quindío; 4.5% from Cundinamarca and the remaining 1.8% from Valle del Cauca, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Meanwhile, according to an August 15 press release from Expo Agrofuturo – which is hosting its ninth annual trade show at Medellin’s Plaza Mayor convention center September 13-15 – Colombia is already the third-largest global avocado producer, and the new U.S. market opening is expected to prompt “rapid growth over the medium term.”
Avocado production and export will be among the featured topics at Expo Agrofuturo 2017. The trade show will include 420 national and international exhibitors, some 20,000 registered attendees and an expectation of business deals topping US$300 million, according to Expo Agrofuturo.
Agricultural experts from Spain, Germany, Holland and Colombia will be among the featured speakers at Expo Agrofuturo 2017, including Nicolas Cock, co-founder and president of Medellin-based Ecoflora Agro.