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US importer visits with his grower
Guatemala’s rambutan crop is shaping up well
“Two weeks ago, I visited our rambutan grower in Guatemala to see how this year’s crop is developing,” says Andres Ocampo with HLB Specialties. “It is still early in the season as the flowers from the rambutan trees are just starting to shift into actual fruits. However, these are the first signs of a healthy crop.”
Extending the season
Although harvest is two months away, HLB’s grower LaFinita is very optimistic about the upcoming season. Normally, the season starts around June 1st, but harvest might begin a little earlier this year. “Our grower has been trying to extend the season by planting in different regions,” said Ocampo. Because of different soils and climates, some trees flower a little earlier. The first region that comes into production is situated in the southern part of Guatemala, in the department of San Marcos. “If harvest in San Marcos would start mid-May, volumes won’t be significant until the beginning of June,” added Ocampo. Once harvest in the south has been finalized, it will shift to the Puerto Barrios region in the department of Izabal. Growing in two different regions has allowed LaFinita to extend its season through November.
5th import season
For HLB Specialties, this is the 5th season importing rambutans from Guatemala. “We have been working with LaFinita from the beginning,” shared Ocampo. “Their family-owned business is highly dedicated and specialized to the production of rambutan. They have been pioneering the crop in Guatemala and planted their first trees in 1997.” Today, the company grows more than 600 acres of rambutan trees. LaFinita has been exporting its rambutans to the US since 2004, the year in which the protocol that allows Guatemala to export to the US was established.
Andres Ocampo (second from the right) together with the team of LaFinita.
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