South America is a large producer of green beans, and the product is exported throughout the world, though North America remains the top importer of the South American product. Casteel GT is a Guatemalan exporting company who work together with growers in Guatemala to export French Green Beans to North America, Europe, and Asia.
Elieser Castellanos says: “We cultivate several different varieties of the green beans, such as the Serengeti, Sapporo, and the Teresa and are able to grow these year-round. We, in cooperation with our growers, focus on ensuring that the cultivation of these products are environmentally-friendly, and preservation-focused. All of our products are organic, and we are proud of our agricultural practices, which include the regular training of our staff and the conscientious application of organic agriculture.”
Fluctuating weather brings forth resistant varieties
The weather in Guatemala this season has fluctuated a lot, which has had some affect on the crops. Castellanos says: “The variability that we have seen in the weather this season has encouraged the occurrence of pests and diseases that affect the crop. Since our product is all organic, we had to develop plant protection plans that would amicably avoid these pests. Fortunately, French green beans have a high adaptability to a variety of climates, including hot, cold, and even tropical weather. We see that yields are getting better each year, as the more resistant plants remain and adapt.”
The company harvests between five and twelve thousand pounds a week and has increased their production and exports by 12% this year. “We have been seeing an increase in demand in the past few years for the green beans – the Asian markets have begun to discover the product and they are becoming an increasingly important market for us, but our main export markets are the U.S. and Europe.”
Thanksgiving demand affects pricing
Since green beans are a staple item on the traditional Thanksgiving table, the prices in the U.S. market have seen a slight rise this month. “It is usual to see fluctuation in the prices on the international market, but we have clearly seen an increase of about 3-4% in the U.S. due to Thanksgiving and the increase in demand during this time of year.”
Casteel GT works together with Guatemalan-based farm San José de la Merced, and has USDA, Global Gap and Cosco certification. “Other major producers of green beans are Mexico, whose main market is the United States, as well as countries like Morocco and Tunisia, who export mainly to the European Union. This is why we put a lot of effort into these certifications, so that we can keep up with, or even stand out from our competition,” Castellanos concludes.