Leidy Calderon Gonzalez is the creator and administrator of Fresiagro, a Colombian strawberry production company that began as a family initiative in the Sena and that currently produces an average of nearly 350 boxes a day.
“The crop's production costs are always high. Producing a kilo of fruit costs an average of 1,000 to 2,000 dollars, and we obtain strawberries of all categories,” Leidy stated. Strawberry cultivation is very sensitive to diseases. “The fruit can suffer Botrytis, anthracnose, and various fungi. Meanwhile, the plant is susceptible to several pests, including spiders.”
A producer can lose up to 50% of the production to these pests, she added. “That represents a loss of approximately $1 million dollars per 1,000 diseased plants. Sometimes, if the cases are very serious, you get 50 or 60 boxes of damaged strawberries.”
The treatment of these pests entails a high cost in inputs. According to Leidy Calderon, “a treatment costs a minimum of $ 200,000 dollars, and it only serves to treat 5,000 to 10,000 plants.”
"Each plant produces two to three kilos so, when the production is low, Fresiagro harvests an average of 220 boxes a day; when it's good, we can collect 300 to 400 boxes of strawberries per day," she stated.