In the first half of 2019, Colombia’s avocado exports are up 37.6% compared to the same period in 2018, according to ProColombia, Colombia’s export promotion agency, and DANE, the national statistics agency. This in contrast to a global increase in consumption of 3% according to the Euromonitor market research firm.
Most Colombian avocado exports are destined towards Europe, with primary consumers being Spain, Belgium, The UK and The Netherlands. Belgium had an increase of 143.5%; over $5 million USD.
“The dynamics observed today in avocado exports are synonymous with teamwork and alliances that work together to open markets and opportunities to our farmers,” said José Manuel Restrepo, minister of Commerce, Industry & Tourism. The evident increase in the consumption of the Hass Avocado variety (pictured above) is evident, indicating a promising future for exports, says the minister.
Colombia avocado production is growing and diversifying into new geographic regions. Colombia is in a privileged position, with access to both Atlantic and Pacific shipping routes. Colombia and China have recently signed phytosanitary requirements protocols, clearing the way to fresh avocado exports to the country.
“We celebrate the significant increase in international sales of Colombian avocados in the first half of the year. Regions such as Antioquia, Risaralda, Valle del Cauca, and Caldas have been protagonists of these results and have taken advantage of the markets where we currently have commercial agreements,” said ProColombia President Flavia Santoro Trujillo.
“We see that consumption increases 3% worldwide and we have room to grow in sales to the United States, the main importer with 41% of the world market for avocados; to the European Union, and to Asian markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Singapore. Now we are waiting for admissibility into China and South Korea, while thanks to the government’s health diplomacy strategy, we have already opened the doors to the Japanese market,” said Santoro.
The US alone, which traditionally imports avocados from Mexico, has imported 700% more avocados from Colombia than before, according to the figures.
The main avocado exporting departments increased their results in the first half of the year compared to 2018 as follows: Antioquia with $27 million USD (20.7% increase), followed by Risaralda with $17.5 million (88.6% increase); Valle del Cauca with $3.8 million (0.2% growth). Cundinamarca also added US $ 2.6 million (growth of 82.6%) and Caldas with US $ 470.505 (variation of 605%).
Colombia has almost a half a million acres suitable for avocado orchards, and the potential is already attracting foreign direct investment. Greenfruit Avocado, based in the US will plant 741 acres of groves near the towns of Trujillo and Bolivar, Valle del Cauca. Camposól of Peru expects to produce 40,000 tons of avocados by 2025.
Rans Agro made a million-dollar investment in 2017, opening a Bogotá office and purchasing equipment to process and export pitaya (also called dragon fruit or pitahaya) for Korean and Japanese markets. Chilean / South African multinational Westfalia Fruit already has 741 acres in high density orchards and nurseries producing clones, and two packing facilities.