Colombia: Valencia Orange for the US market

Earlier this year, the United States authorized the opening of imports of sweet citrus from Colombia, as long as the farms where these products come from comply with a series of additional rules to prevent the spread of pests, such as the fruit fly and the Mediterranean fly in the US.

In this sense, Frutales Las Lajas SA has become the first plant that is certified to export sweet citrus to this market. This was announced by Juan Felipe Gaviria, the assistant manager of the company, which is located in the municipality of Zarzal, in the Valle del Cauca.

"We plan to send our first export of valencia oranges to the US on August 20. We would be the first company to export these citrus fruits to that market. We are going to export 22 tons of Valencia orange to Puerto Rico, an associated state of the United States," said Gaviria, who also indicated that they project to export three to four containers per month for the rest of the year to that market.

Gaviria stressed that, since the plant is certified, the producers that have certified their farms by the ICA and want to export sweet citrus to the US can do it through this company.

It is worth noting that, Frutales Las Lajas SA is a company dedicated to the production, marketing and export of Hass avocado, and Tahiti lime.

"We are producers, but there came a point when our own production wasn't enough to meet our customers' demand in different markets, so we decided to start marketing the fruit and opened our doors to the commercialization of lime and avocado about a year and a half ago," he added.

Apart from marketing and exporting these two products, the company also provides packaging or maquila services.

According to Gaviria, Colombia is a natural producer of fruits, but nearly 85% of the producers are informal and most of their production stays in the local market. "What we wanted to do was to give small, medium, and large producers the opportunity to export directly without the need of an intermediary, so we started to offer an integrated maquila service, where we charge per kg packed and guarantee an excellent selection and continuity in the cold chain, so that they can export their products directly."


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