The Colombian avocado season is winding down right now and is entering its off-season. For Green Superfood, this means that production has switched over to Brazil.
Mauricio Lopez, the company’s sales manager, says: “In Colombia, Caldas is currently the region under harvest. After Caldas, Antioquia starts at the end of May and will go to about July. All in all, Colombia will be present on the international market until week 30-32, roughly. So right now, our group is planting in Brazil. The plan for the near future is to fill this calendar gap with Brazilian fruit during our Colombia off-season.”
Relatively smooth market during pandemic
The pandemic has brought with it many new situations, market changes, and guidelines that have affected companies and consumers throughout the world. Green Superfood’s general manager Baptiste Kervyn says: “It’s been a roller-coaster ride for everyone, we believe. Generally, we managed to anticipate pretty well the challenges the COVID pandemic posed to our operations – with regard to production, harvest, packing and export. This has enabled us to run a relatively smooth operation throughout our harvest.”
The group had been expecting initial disruption in the demand, but fortunately it wasn’t as unstable as they had expected. Kervyn shares: “On the commercial side, we decided from the very beginning to focus mostly on retail programs and this decision has proven successful. Our sales channels remained strong during the worst of the COVID confinement in Europe, and the market has generally behaved in a smoother fashion than we expected.”
Nevertheless, the company is remaining vigilant and cautious: “We believe that this ‘ever-evolving’ situation is bound to last for several more months. We thus need to remain assertive in our decision making and make the most of the opportunities which will arise,” Kervyn says.
Challenges and precautions
Naturally, the pandemic has caused challenges in multiple levels of the supply chain. “The challenges have been many and diverse,” Kervyn says. “We have had to find solutions within the framework of what was legally allowed, to operate while protecting the health of our staff and partners.”
With regard to logistics, the disruptions were minimal for Green Superfood. “The supply chain actors have done an amazing job to keep things running. The transport rates did increase, but this was logical given the context, and we have understood the reasons,” says Kervyn.
For their workers, the group has taken multiple precautions to ensure that they are able to operate in the safest manner possible. “We are blessed with an amazing team who have roused to the challenge and the extra hard work brought on by the COVID situation. We kept all workers on our farms to help guarantee the security and health of the staff. We’ve also worked to ensure that social distancing is adhered to between people working together in harvest, packing and logistics.” While these precautions have translated into a lower productivity and higher operating costs, they have helped keep the workers safe.
“As a company we have also taken extremely seriously the responsibility we have towards our team members, their families and our surrounding communities. We have donated fruits, organized health awareness workshops and promoted active social distancing not only at work but also in public spaces,” Kervyn concludes.