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Peru exporters eye U.S. as a growing market

Peru’s Expoalimentaria attracted the most foreign visitors from the U.S., with 384 attendees walking the show floor and seeing what exporters had to offer. Most booths promoted processed produce or grain products and coffee, but some exhibitors are on the brink of selling fresh fruit and vegetables to U.S. companies.
A cooperative of three banana companies from the Tumbes region, for example, plans to begin shipping organic bananas to the U.S. in November, and the group will soon be joined by three more growers.

The U.S. is more promising than Europe as a market because of its proximity to Peru, said Humberto Hidalgo, president of the Organic Banana Association of San Jacinto, one of the three companies currently in the group.

Andreas Economou, chief executive officer of Unifrutti of America Inc., Philadelphia, said Peru is becoming as important as Chile as a source of fresh fruit. He said production is costlier in Chile, there have been weather problems and disruptions related to mining in northern Chile production areas.

“We believe that Peru has a very good future in our business in the U.S.,” Economou said. “They have done the right things, and they are actually doing a better job than the Chileans, I have to say. I’m sorry to say that, but I think it’s correct.”

Unifrutti of America has been buying Peruvian grapes for 3-4 years through other U.S. importers, but production has reached the point the company can buy directly, he said. Peruvian citrus, mainly mandarins and tangelos, is also on Unifrutti’s radar, reported.


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