Colombia is emerging as the main competitor to Mexico in the United States Hass avocado market; despite this, the country is negotiating to open the Mexican market to its product.
Jorge Enrique Restrepo, the CEO of CorpoHass Colombia, said that Colombia's production concentrated in Europe, as this was their natural market, due to its requirements, and because it was an important consumption block. "We are connected at the frequency level, but we are working to open the Mexican market. Negotiations have already begun, but we don't foresee opening this market in the short term due to regulation issues," he said.
During 2017, 57 Colombian companies exported 28,500 tons of Hass avocado worth nearly 53 million dollars to different destinations in the world. "The doors are open in the US market, which continues to be the world's main market, as it accounts for almost 30% of total consumption. Colombia joins Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the United States itself, as a supplier in this market," he added.
The United States is the largest importer of Hass avocado in the world, accounting for a third of the world's purchases with about US $2 billion.
The ex-ambassador of Mexico in Colombia, Blanca Alcala, said that sometimes "we don't have the capacity to cover the entire market. In addition, it's likely that the we'll start importing Hass avocado from Colombia next year."
Restrepo said that, "the health authorities have already asked for the requirements and we've already started negotiating with Mexico so that they will give access to our fruit; a procedure that can take six months, a year, or five years, as there are complex conditions. It is a difficult process. We don't believe we'll achieve it next year, because the negotiation is more advanced with China."
He also highlighted the importance of legal certainty for the private sector.
"Colombia is beginning to be recognized due to the amount of Hass avocado it moves in the world, even though the market is dominated by Mexico, Peru and Chile in terms of volumes," he said.
Last year, Colombia sent the first shipment of 34 tons of Hass avocados to the United States, which marked the beginning of exports of that product to that market.
In February of this year, a new shipment of 22 tons of Hass avocado left Cartagena to the United States.