Colombia: Huila will export fruit to 5 US states, Canada and 13 EU countries

Colombia´s Passiflora Technology Development Corporation Center (CEPASS) presented the Huila Fruit Exporter program in Neiva on Thursday. ProColombia stated that Huila had a unique agro-industrial potential because of its diversity of climates and soil types, among other natural conditions, to sell fruits to the countries with which Colombia has at least three FTAs.

Huila producers could export their products to five US states: California, Washington, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. Additionally, they could export their products to Canada and 13 countries of the European Union, where there is potential to commercialize the fruits of the region.

This was recently revealed by ProColombia, when they stated that the Huila had the diversity of soils, different climates, and other natural conditions to produce excellent quality fruit, specially pomegranate, passion fruit, and Cholupa, which has a promising future in external markets because of its color, flavor, and aroma.

In fact, the department ranks first in the national production of pomegranate and passion fruit, the second in blond tobacco, dragon fruit and vegetables, and third in melon production.

Yesterday the Colombian Passiflora Technology Development Center Corporation (CEPASS) presented the Huila Fruit Exporter program, with the support of the governor of Huila, the Ministry of Agriculture and Incoder. Pedro Medina, the director of the I believe in Colombia Foundation, was in charge of the main lecture.

Marisol Parra Morera, said CEPASS was a private entity engaged in the research, development and transfer of technology. It was created in 2007 with the aim of strengthening fruit items of great interest to the department of Huila, such as pomegranate, passion fruit, gulupa, Cholupa, badea, and other related fruit, like blackberry, lulo, and pitahaya. 

"In order to meet the technological demands of this sector, it has a bank of projects and four business units, with the goal of having up to date information, production protocols with a view to export and specialized markets available to farmers and entrepreneurs in the region. We also have an agribusiness unit to strengthen the fruit export processes and to generate added value. Additionally there is an Epsagro unit providing agricultural services, which has high-level experts in Colombia in tropical fruit cultivation that consult for the projects of the corporation and provide training so that producers can improve their skills and empower their capabilities," she added.

The leader said that the fruit sector had made partnerships with different corporations, such as Corpoica, universities, SENA, production companies, international traders and different Mayors for its Research, Technological Development and Innovation R & D processes. In 2012, she added, they achieved an important agreement with Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Company), which leads research in passion fruit and other Passiflora crops worldwide. Thanks to this agreement, entrepreneurs, researchers and producers have gone on Technological Missions to Brazil to see and learn about their progress in production and agro-processing.

Currently, she noted, the CEPASS Corporation is running some projects to improve the quality and safety of fruit production in the region through the certification in Good Agricultural Practices, which will satisfy the growing demand from international and specialized markets. "The purpose is to improve the quality of life of farmers, the conservation of natural resources, the supply of healthy products to consumers, and to boost the economy of a region hit by violence but that has a great vocation and optimal environmental conditions for the production of tropical and exotic fruits," she said.

Benefiting 5,000 farming families in the fruit sector
Yesterday, and as part of the launch of the Huila Fruit Exporter program, the governor of Huila, Carlos Mauricio Iriarte Barrios, received an award from the Technology Development Centre (CEPASS) in recognition to his management and commitment to the fruit sector of the department.

"In our Competitive Huila development plan we committed to conducting business conferences, fairs and other events that can lead to business opportunities and opening new markets for products and services offered by the economic sectors of the department," he said.

He said that currently Huila had positioned itself as a national leader in the production of moderately cold weather fruits, and that the department contributed with 50% of the passion fruit, 38% of the pitahaya, 20% of the lulo, 19% of the passion fruit, 98% of the badea, and 100% of the Cholupa, as it has a denomination of origin, produced in the country.

The departmental government has invested more than 5.421 million pesos in the fruit sector in 13 municipalities of the department, benefiting 5,000 farming families with projects to improve management capabilities for technological innovation of fruit, geographical, agricultural, environmental and fisheries sectors in Huila.


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