Arcángel Miguel International, Colombia

“We expect a good avocado market in Europe until the holidays”

“The European avocado market is slowly recovering from very low prices this summer. The Peruvian season is at its end, and avocados from South Africa are leaving the market as well. We expect that within a week or two prices will increase. This is the moment that Chile, Spain and Colombia come into the market. Luckily for us, Chile has other important export destinations which results in not too much Chilean supply. Spain is closer to the market, so they are more flexible in when to sell their fruit, explains Cesar Paolini from the Colombian producer and exporter Arcángel Miguel International.

He expects the market to be good until the holidays, followed by two weeks of lower demand right after Christmas and the first week of January. “This is not something unusual, people spent a lot of money during the holidays, and they have less discretionary income after Christmas. We experience less demand during these two weeks.”

Expanding export markets
The company currently exports to the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands “Our focus for now is completely on Europe. However, as the Saudi Arabian market has opened and started to receive Colombian supply, we are looking into this market as well. It’s an interesting market with high prices. As it’s a new market, there are still opportunities for us.”

“We are looking into the possibilities to export to the United States market. We believe during the year, there are a few gaps in supply, that gives Colombia the opportunity to send some volume. It’s been almost one year now that the market is open for Colombian avocados. However, there are a lot of restrictions still, that make it very hard for exporters. Not too much volume has been shipped so far. This is partly caused by the restrictions, but in combination with prices that haven´t been great in the US market”, continues Cesar. He hopes that when Colombia has proven itself, the restrictions will be softened so it will be easier for Colombia to export their avocados.

Colombian avocado supply
Cesar explains that there has been a lot of growth in the production of avocado. “The quality is getting better as we are moving along a learning curve as a country. We are still young in producing avocados, but Colombia has the advantage of being nearby the Equator. This means that we don´t need irrigation in our fields. This is a blessing, but sometimes as well a challenge as we can´t control the weather.”

“In general the prices for our Colombian avocados are sold at lower prices than other origins. This is due to the fact that our avocado isn’t as well known as avocado from traditional producers such as Mexico, Chile or Spain”, says Cesar.

Free trade zone
The company bought own land three years ago, and started planting two years ago. In total, the company has 200 hectares of Hass avocado. “Located in the traditional region for coffee production results in very fertile land. We focus on conventional Hass avocado, as it’s difficult to produce fully organic in our climate. Besides the avocado production, we also have 17 hectares of purple passion fruit.”

He continues: “We saw that there was a need to pack our own fruit, so we decided to build a packing house in Quindio. This opened one month ago and its 2400m2 big. We can store up to 15 containers at the same time. Besides that, the packing house is located in the free trade zone, which means a lot of savings for us and other producers. Other producers are interested in packing in our packing house as it’s nearby, so they are able to be present and keep more control. In addition, it saves on transportation costs and packaging costs, for example.”

He concludes by saying that another good thing about this free trade zone, is that there is a strict control on everything that comes in and goes out. “This means as well that there is a good control for narcotic contamination, one of the issues that we have in our country. Within the zone there is an inspection for narcotic contamination and again when the shipments get to the port.”

For more information:
Cesar Paolini
Arcángel Miguel International
T: +1 7862235897

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