Thanks to FTA with the EU

Colombian fruit and vegetables to improve chances in Europe

Proexport identified 451 products from the Colombian department of El Valle with potential in the European market. According to the entity's president, María Claudia Lacouture, the products include confectionery, baked goods, prepared foods, processed fruit and vegetables, cosmetics, wheel rims and pharmaceuticals, among others, which will have zero tariffs once the agreement takes effect.

Diego Duque, president of Asohofrucol's Departmental Committee in El Valle, assured that the fruit sector already had advantageous tariffs in the European Union and that the agreement will only strengthen trade ties.

"At the moment, El Valle ships fruits such as: dragon fruit, guava, mango, Tahiti lime and soon also Hass avocados will be shipped," he said.

These products enter through Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and from there they can go to other countries, like Spain. According to the executive, there is room for improvement in that territory with tropical fruits, but there are great challenges regarding logistics and transportation costs. "It is worrying that land transport within the country is more expensive than the sea transport towards Europe. Efforts should be made in this field and also to lower transportation costs by air, used to ship cape gooseberry and papaya," said Duque. 

At the moment ten firms from El Valle are exporting to European markets, but the biggest challenge lies in promoting productive partnerships between growers and trading and logistics firms to be able to grow and seek added value, such as selling processed fruit.

Up to the first semester of 2012, El Valle's firms sold US$ 8 million in products to Belgium, US$ 7 million to Spain, another US$ 6.6 million to Germany and a similar figure to France. 

Source: Elpais

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