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Nicaragua: Orange profits up 35.1%

According to the Center for Export Procedures (CETREX), up until November 30, the country had sold 51.7 million kilograms of oranges, i.e. 54.4% more than in the same period of 2015.

In that period, fresh oranges exports amounted to US $7.2 million, 35.1% more than in the same period last year, according to the CETREX.

The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade (MIFIC) stated in August's Foreign Trade Report that orange exports were among the most dynamic exports this year.
The TicoFrut company, a fruit processing company in Costa Rica, stated that "in the last year, the volume of Nicaraguan orange exports to TicoFrut had increased by 50%."

"The final destination is mainly the US, after the fruit has been processed and packaged in TicoFrut's plant located in the canton of San Carlos, Costa Rica," the company stated.

Ottmar Gomez Teran, an engineer and specialist in oranges, stated that, according to official data from 2010, the country has 23,430 hectares devoted to citrus crops, 80% of which are devoted to orange cultivation.

"Approximately 3,700 hectares of them are established in Rio San Juan (3,500 hectares belong to the Frutales de San Juan Company and about 180 hectares to small and medium producers)," said Gomez Teran.

He also stated that there was a cooperative in Rio San Juan that brought together some 30 producers, with about 150 hectares in production, and 30 small independent producers who had 1 to 13-hectare-sized plots.

Independent producers and the cooperative sell their production in the Managua's wholesale market.

However, this year the cooperative intends to sell its production to the Frutan company for export, said the engineer.

Improving productivity
According to Gomez Teran, orange production yields have increased in recent years, which partly explains the increase in export volumes.

TicoFrut stated that their short-term plans were to consolidate and increase their productivity through technological improvements and by making their processes more efficient.

"The company's vision is to grow while they become efficient and achieve the necessary economies of scale to successfully compete in the international market. Apart from the US market, the European and Asian markets are potential markets for our final product," concluded TicoFrut.

Ottmar Gomez Teran said that the prices of orange juice in the international market were encouraging, as the production of the major producers of oranges has decreased because of the HLB disease, the crops main threat.

According to him, "Nicaragua can continue growing oranges, provided that the country has institutional policies to manage this disease in conjunction with the regional health agencies, domestic producers, and the private enterprise."

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