The market for yellow pitahaya exports appears to be growing worldwide and it has been successfully established in different countries, such as China, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, France and the United Kingdom, among others. However, there are places where this business has been running for a short time and where, for the moment, the Colombians are leading the way.
CI Dumax Agro is the only company in the world that currently exports yellow pitahaya to the markets of Japan and South Korea. "No one else is doing it," said its manager, William Matamoros, adding that they began to make shipments of this product about a year ago and that they can send up to 20 tons of yellow pitahaya each month. A kilo of pitahaya is quoted at about US $29.
The process of certification to export the fruit to these countries was complicated and requires the product undergoes a treatment process with hot steam, known as VHT. That is perhaps the main reason why Dumax remains the reigning company in that market: "The machine to conduct the VHT treatment is expensive and it has to be brought from Japan. In addition, the productive fields must be visited by the authorities, and you need validation from the governments of both countries," stated Matamoros, who noted that, even though they were concentrated in the Asian market, their short-term objective was to export to countries that are closer to Colombia, starting with Chile.
The company is also betting on a process in which they are pioneering: the zeodration or dehydration of fruits in a vacuum. "We don't use heat, or cold, or anything like that. It is a technology invented by a French chef, but we are the only ones that have the patent for South America," Matamoros said.
They built the zeodrating machine themselves in a process that took more than three months and required the work of at least 10 people. The machine, which is about five meters long, was recently completed and its ready to start working on its first order, which should leave the last week of November for Japan. Then they will use it to work on mango and pineapple.
This is the innovation that Dumax Agro is presenting at the Europe Business Roundtable, organized in Paris by Procolombia, in which 150 Colombian entrepreneurs participate to generate opportunities for national exporters in different sectors, such as agricultural foods, fashion, industries 4.0, metalworking, and chemicals sectors.