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Colombia is one step away from shipping avocados to China

A few months separate Colombia from beginning its shipments to the Asian country. Several steps have been taken to achieve this goal, and complying with the protocols required. "We started by adapting to US requirements and import protocols, because we knew that these were very similar to those of China," explains Rodolfo Ahumada of Pacific Fruits. The requirements imposed by both countries in order to import such fruit are only different by 10%, so "most of the work is already done".  

In order to be able to complete the last part of the procedure, Chinese authorities have traveled to the South American country to document and verify first hand how the avocado is being cultivated. Once they have all the necessary data, they will evaluate the last step for Colombian producers and exporters to take. "This process can last 6 months, or several years. Everything will depend on the will and interest on both sides, "explains Ahumada. However, "we know that there is no reason for the delay, so we are confident that within a period of about 6 months, we can start exporting our avocado."

So far, Pacific Fruits has begun to establish contacts with various Chinese importers in order to know the market more deeply. "We calculated that the volume of fruit that should be sent weekly in order to meet the demand would be between 7 and 10 containers." This quantity would be distributed in the Asian country's three main regions, fulfilling the different characteristics that consumers ask for, regarding degree of maturity, calibres, roughness, etc.

For an international reference, Mexican avocado prices, the Asian country's first suppliers, go for 4 to 5 dollars FOB per 6kg. box in the case of mainland China. And in terms of volumes, Mexico sends an average of 80 containers a week. "Our exports will grow as consumption increases," said Pacific Fruits. For that, and "because it is a long transit, we have had to be very careful and make the subject of dry matter homogeneous, as we are talking about a 32 day journey." 

In order to be able to deliver 24 tons nett of fruit, about 50 tons have been processed. "However, 95% of the fruit is being used, because they are combining the shipments with those with of closer destinations where you can take advantage of the rest." As a curious fact, "we are sending the whole container with an average of 23 to 23.7% of dry matter, so that the fruit can survive without any problem".

"The situation in China at the moment is favorable, it is more open to consuming products from other countries, even those previously unknown to them. In addition, they are more prepared in terms of infrastructure, because they already have maturation cameras and logistics for avocado ", adds Ahumada. Programs are also being made for consumers with the intention of teaching them how to consume this fruit. 

For more information:

Rodolfo Ahumada 
Pacific Fruits S.A.S 
Km. 1 Via Aeropuerto – Rozo Palmira, 
Valle del Cauca, Colombia 
Tel.: +57 314709281 

Publication date: 9/15/2017


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