"A first step towards this objective has been given by the sector, with the National Fruit & Vegetable Promotion Plan, which seeks to support productivity and competitiveness, including markets such as medicinal plants, herbs and spices.
The plan will become effective once it is approved, possibly in late September, by the National Fruit & Vegetable Promotion Fund, as the Ministry of Agriculture has already given the nod.
According to the national manager of the Fruit and Vegetables Association of Colombia (Asohofrucol), Álvaro Palacio, this is the route to be taken for the next 10 years (2012-2020) and just in 2013 it will involve a $13,000 million investment.
"These factors should bring us value added, and the idea is to promote fruit and vegetable production with environmentally friendly systems and risk management against climate changes," he pointed out. Another goal is to enter national and international markets with differentiated products, increasing consumption and the volume of Para fiscal contributions. In Colombia there are around 940,000 hectares of fruits and vegetables with a production of 10.3 million tonnes, including bananas, which are cultivated like a vegetable.
The growth experienced in the fruit and vegetables sector has been of 1.2% annually, according to figures from Asohofrucol. At least 80 fruit and vegetable species from the 175 that there are in the whole country are developed here. One of the challenges of the sector, without a doubt, is to increase consumption per capita in Colombia. Nowadays it is of 190 grams daily, but it should be of 400, assures the union. Imports of such food items amount to 294,000 tonnes per year, which could easily be cultivated in the country. The sector suffers due to illegal activities and smuggling.