FruitMasters pleased with market access to Colombia

Sales organisation FruitMasters can start delivering apples and pears to Colombia in the short term. The borders of the country recently opened to Dutch fruit. Export manager Fabian Dumont of FruitMasters is elated about the new market access.

FruitMasters asked the Dutch government to start the negotiations with Colombia in 2014. Fabian: “Distributors and supermarket owners in Colombia showed a lot of interest in our apples and pears. For us, that was the signal to broach market access with the government in The Hague. After four years, we now have access, and we’re very pleased with that.”

Plots signed on
FruitMasters is the only sales organisation that signed on plots for export to this country at the start of the 2018 production season — in anticipation of definitive market access to Colombia. The pears that have been harvested in the fields that have been signed on, can now definitely be exported to Colombia. Other exporters who want to profit from the market access can sign on plots for this in 2019.

More borders opened
In recent years, multiple countries have opened their borders, such as China, Vietnam, India and, earlier this year, Mexico. According to Fabian, an expansion of sales to countries outside of Europe is very important for the Dutch fruit sector, particularly because the market in Europe is congested. “Each country that opens its borders provides space.”

Sales to China double each year
Four years ago, market access to China was realised. Sales to that country are still limited, although a doubling of sales can be seen each year. Fabian: “Once the borders of a country are opened, the actual work starts. With tasting sessions in shops we introduce our product to consumers. This process can take years. Last summer we started with this in Mexico. Responses from consumers are positive.”

Most of the fruit on shelves in Colombian supermarkets comes from North and South America, particularly Argentina, Chile and the US. However, they definitely still have room for high-quality apples and pears from the Netherlands. “It’s up to us to actually start taking up that space.”

Phytosanitary requirements
The phytosanitary requirements Dutch fruit has to meet in Colombia aren’t extremely high, according to Fabian. The requirements implemented by different countries often vary. For that reason, FruitMasters encourages their suppliers to meet requirements from all sales countries. If sales to China are paused, for example, the product can then immediately be sold in another country.

Source: Agroberichten Buitenland

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