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Alvaro Gonzalez, from Agriflores: "Air freight is making us more competitive"

"We want to position the Colombian papaya in Europe"

Agriflores is the result of 4 generations dedicated to the agricultural sector, especially to banana production, in Santa Marta, Colombia. Currently, the company works with conventional Cavendish bananas, organic bananas, and Formosa papaya. In addition, they have started planting 50 hectares of Keitt mango and plan to have 150 hectares of mango by 2022.

According to Alvaro Gonzalez, from Agriflores, sales volumes haven't been affected by the global pandemic. However, the pandemic has complicated things and increased production costs. "COVID-19 has brought us new challenges, especially of a logistical and biosafety nature, which has increased our production costs. Our main concern is that our collaborators don't get sick from the pandemic, but the volumes of our products have remained very stable, both in production and in marketing. Demand and prices also remain stable."

"Colombia's papaya has everything to compete against the Brazilian papaya"
"Colombia, due to its climate, soil, and water resources, has an enormous agricultural production potential. The country's challenges include improving our irrigation infrastructure, reducing logistics costs, and creating productive clusters -like the ones we have for bananas and coffee- for other products. It's not surprising that banana and coffee, which have productive clusters, are some of the country's best exportable agricultural products. Our papayas have a very intense flavor and a very firm pulp because we produce them in one of the most luminous areas in the world, the Magdalena Banana Zone."

The area's climatic conditions and the company's irrigation systems allow Agriflores to produce papaya all year round. "Our proximity to ports and airports allows the products we offer to be very competitive," stated Alvaro Gonzalez.

Agriflores' papaya exports are mainly directed to the United States and Europe, where France and the Netherlands are the main markets. "We would like to better position ourselves in Europe mainly with the Formosa papaya, even though Brazil is the one that dominates this market. We are also very interested in the Canadian market," Gonzalez added. "So far, sales have evolved very well, we have good prospects and several clients. Our advantage right now is that the cost of our air freight is more competitive than the one paid by Brazil," he said.

According to the exporter, it is difficult for the papaya to reach the consumption volumes of mango, especially because it has a much shorter shelf life. "I'm sure that, once the European consumers try it, they will continue buying it because of its delicious intense flavor."

The main challenge for Colombian bananas: Preventing the spread of Fusarium Tropical race 4
Colombian bananas compete strongly with the product of Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. In addition, the country's organic bananas also compete with the Peruvian product.

"Currently, the Colombian banana sector is facing the challenge of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, although I think the country has fared well when compared to other countries. Another challenge we have is to prevent the Fusarium race 4, which was detected in Colombia's Guajira last year, from spreading to the rest of the producing areas," Alvaro Gonzalez stated.


For more information:

Iris Gonzalez Mitchell
T: +57 5 430-8509
C:+57 320-9279517
+57 310-6218807
Carrera 4 #12-55 2º piso Edificio Araujo y Segovia
Rodadero, Santa Marta, Colombia


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