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Non-traditional product exports doubles
Nicaragua exports almost 36% more oranges
Exports of non-traditional products between January and March 2017 increased by 101.56% over the same period of 2016. According to data from the Center for Exports (Cetrex), so far this year the country has had sales for US $ 21.6 million. In the same period last year they amounted to US $ 10.7 million.
According to experts, the increase in sales of this type of product was mainly due to the excellent harvests obtained because of the great winter there was last year, the expansion of productive areas, and improvements in international prices.
Mario Arana, the general manager of the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN), said that they were trying to attract the attention of producers and investors to these items, as their extraordinary growth is a sign that they have great potential in international markets.
He said the increase was due to a combination of factors. "The weather was definitely better. There was also much more volume in the exports of several products, but there have also been price improvements and, in some cases, the increase in production was due to the expansion of areas. For example, the production area of cocoa is increasing and something similar is happening in oranges and pineapples," said Arana.
According to data from the Cetrex, the export volume of fresh oranges increased by almost 36%, amounting to US $ 10.4 million, in the first three months of the year. Last year, orange exports in the same period only amounted US $ 5.38 million, which means there has been a 93.47% increase in value.
Arana said that the country was exporting its pineapple and vegetables to Costa Rica, and that it sold its oranges to Costa Rica and the United States.
The economist also said that Nicaragua wasn't taking advantage of the European market and that their main export potential to this market were their fruits, as Costa Rica, for example, exported about US $ 65 million only in fruits to Europe.
The general manager of APEN stated that one of the impediments to export to the European market was that they still didn't meet their quality requirements. "We are making some exports to Europe, but they are basically of dry products. We've already opened a market for dried and frozen fruits, but still in small quantities. There is tremendous potential, but we have to meet all the requirements," said Arana.
The export level of other products also increased over the year. The value of mango exports, for example, increased by almost 74%, while onions went from US $9,720 last year to $213,925 dollars this year.
Roberto Brenes, an expert on international markets, said that in the case of pineapples, some projects were being developed from Nueva Guinea (South Caribbean) to Ticuantepe (Managua), which included the production of the Golden (MD2) variety, which has a growing demand in international markets.
Brenes said that Costa Rica was the main exporter of this fruit worldwide and that they could "supply the demand for this product in countries like the United States, Canada and Europe."
According to the expert, Nicaragua exports pineapples to the neighboring country to complete the demand of the markets where Costa Rica markets this product. He also said that there were other fruits that were sparking interest, like melons, watermelons, Hawaiian papaya, and mangoes.
"We have an opportunity in the European market, there is also an unsatisfied demand in closer markets like Canada, the United States, and Central America. But we must develop our competitiveness, that is to say work more at the macro level, public services expenses, for example, have a great impact on the cost of production for us to take advantage of the opportunities," he stated.
Publication date: 4/19/2017
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