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Rambutan, an exotic fruit with a growing presence in EuropeThe rambutan production has increased in Guatemala, as new plantations are becoming productive. A volume of around 2,000 tonnes is expected, compared to the 1,500 tonnes that were harvested last year.
The demand for exotic products is increasing both in the US and in Europe. Edilson Hernández, of the company Prime Tropics, explains that "rambutan is currently our main product, since we have 140 thousand trees planted. Our goal is for our presence to be equal in the US and European markets, since in 2017 we exported 85% of our production to the US, 10% to Europe and 5% to Canada. Next year, we hope to be able to ship at least 25% of our production to Europe.
Prime Tropics currently exports 50% of its total production, while the rest is marketed in the domestic market. In the words of Hernández, "shipments go mainly to the United States, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany, but we are a great company and that is why we aim to export a growing volume of products and continue to expand internationally."
The harvest and export of rambutan will start in early May and, despite the climatic changes that Guatemala has experienced in recent months, this season is expected to be very good. Edilson explains that the weather conditions that Guatemala is going through at the moment, with a cold front, have so far not affected Prime Tropics, due to the fact that they are based in a coastal area in the south of the country.
In summer, Europe's demand for exotic products increases every year, which is why Prime Tropics is putting more emphasis on negotiating contracts with European countries, because it is a strong and stable market that can help them continue growing.
"Our company has set the goal of promoting exotic fruit in international markets and we are optimistic about it. The quality of our product allows us to compete with other producers, as our fruit is becoming more uniform. We are the largest rambutan marketing company in Guatemala, as well as in Central America and Mexico. At an international level, we have not faced much competition because our prices have been very close to those of other companies. It is also not a very popular product, so competition is limited."
Today, rambutan is the main product for Prime Tropics, but this year they also have planted around 10,000 achacha trees, which will yield around 500 tonnes of that new fruit. Hernández says that "the achacha is a very rare product that we are promoting so that it can gain a better position in the markets in a few years. The achacha we produce is intended for export to Europe, because in the United States there are still no protocols for its sale, so we are going to ship it to European countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and Spain."
Primetropics is also trying to introduce the sapodilla, finger lime and pitahaya (or Dragon Fruit). All of these are Global GAP certified and will soon be in European markets.
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