The pitahaya is doing well in Nicaragua, thanks to hard work and collaboration with a team of agronomists. According to one exporter, the yields have increased by more than 30 per cent and it is expected that volumes will increase by 40 per cent next year.
For Nicaraguan pitahaya exporter Sol Organica it has been a very good year, says export manager Rider Tenorio: “The pitaya growers in our network have a solid year behind them thanks to their hard work and collaboration with our team agronomists. Our producers increased their yields by more than 30%, which allowed them to exceed their projected goals. This year we were able to meet 100% of our contracts and the outlook for next year is excellent. We expect our pitahaya volumes to increase by 40% next year.”
Now that the growers are doing well and volumes are increasing, it is time for Sol Organica to look towards new markets to export to. “We are constantly working in developing new markets. As of right now we are in conversations with customers from Europe who are interested in our organic pitahaya for next season. The intensity of the red color of the pulp is unique to the Nicaraguan pitahaya. This is why a lot of customers want to get their hands on the Nicaraguan variety.”
However the Europeans have strict regulations and to have the best shot at improving the export opportunities to the European market, certifications are required. “We are currently working with a group of farmers to get Global G.A.P. and GRASP certifications. In order to achieve this objective, our Field Team is focusing all its efforts and resources on improving yields through better soil management, and partnering alongside with our network of growers to continue farming in a sustainable and responsible way that will benefit future generations.” Tenorio explains.
One of the ways Sol Organics separates itself from other exporters is by focusing on regenerative soil management as one of their flagships. This past year they improved their methods, Tenorio said. “We started a training program for technical personnel aimed at engaging in the use of regenerative organic farming practices. In 2020 we have a plan aimed at conservation and restoration of soils, mainly of which are in highly vulnerable areas. Over a thousand of our farmers will be employing regenerative farming practices: agroforestry systems to create food forests, watershed management through contour farming, and soil management to improve soil health and mitigate erosion.”
With 2019 almost in the rear view mirror, Sol Organica is looking forward to the next year. “Our outlook for 2020 is very positive. There is a large demand for the red flesh pitahaya from Nicaragua. This in turn translates into more access for our producers to international markets, and an opportunity to improve their livelihood and living standards as well as mitigate climate change.
As part of our outreach strategy, Burke Agro S.A. / Sol Organica S.A. will be present in a variety of different food industry related trade shows around the world. We kick off 2020 by attending Fruit Logistica in Berlin, the largest fresh fruit show in the world. The week after we will exhibit at Biofach in Nuremberg, the leading organic trade show in Europe, where it is always a pleasure to visit with old friends and make new ones. In September we will be attending LAC Flavors, and then on to SIAL in Paris in October 2020.