Colombian fresh fruit exports have performed well in 2020. Between January and August, they totaled 224 million dollars, i.e. 10% more than in the same period of 2019. Curiously, these figures have been driven by the curious fact that domestic consumers aren't eating much of them.
The most notable case is that of blueberries, a fruit whose exports registered an increase of 65,405% in the first eight months of the year, totaling 866,529 dollars, compared to the 1,323 dollars reached in the same period of last year.
According to Camilo Lozano, the president of the Colombian Association of Blueberry Growers (Asocolblue), “the Americans and Canadians grew up eating blueberries. People don't really look for it in Colombia, so it's much better to think about a market with 400 million people who would look for this product than one with less than 45 million that don't look for it."
Colombia's blueberry sector has undergone a great expansion in the last decade, going from 50 hectares in production to more than 550 hectares nowadays. According to industry forecasts, if exports continue developing as they did in the first eight months of 2020, they could amount to 1.5 million dollars by the end of the year.
Passion flowers have also experienced a noticeable growth in exports in this period, increasing by 17,201% year-on-year. Fruit exports of gulupa, passion fruit, or amaranth have achieved external sales for more than $ 20,000. Next year, the export of these references are expected to amount to 100,000 dollars.
Other fruits that showed outstanding growth between January and August were dried bananas, fresh grapes, mandarins, and raspberries, and blackberries, which registered a 348% increase in exports with sales of US $6,500.
They were followed by other products that the country has exported for a short time, such as dates, which at the end of the eighth month of this year had achieved export of nearly $ 20,000 (i.e. 40% more than in the same period of the previous year) or pistachios, which had some market openings and totaled $ 27,804.
"Anyone who decides to export to continue growing can do it. The first step is to include internationalization as an essential part of their growth strategy. Exporting is a great business because it breeds competitiveness and reduces the risk of depending on a single client,” stated Flavia Santoro, the president of ProColombia.