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Considerable growth and good prospects for Colombia's citrus production

Citrus Aurantifolia Swingle lemons

Colombia offers great potential to expand and consolidate citrus agro-business activities in order to enter the domestic, Central American and Caribbean markets, where more than a hundred million people live.

Another market of great interest is that of the United States, where the most imported Colombian citrus fruit is the Tahiti lime. This fruit represents approximately 50% of Colombia's citrus production.

"Geographic position determines competitiveness variables, but we must manage the various pests and diseases, which are limitations to the realisation of true export policies," explains Luis Alfonso Moreno Ayala, an economist with a successful career in the agricultural sector.

Colombia's citrus production in 1998 reached 691,219 tonnes, grown on 41,555 hectares. In 2013, according to "Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)," the planted acreage was of 83,058 hectares; an increase of 77.2%, with a harvested area of 72,079 hectares and production volumes reaching 1,151,122 tonnes, up 66.5%.

"The country has a great diversity of climates, soils and rainfall patterns, allowing for the adaptation of new promising varieties that may, at any given time, start being shipped to markets in the Caribbean Basin and Asia at times when other countries are unable to produce any citrus," explains Luis.

"Colombia's citrus industry has evolved considerably, not only in terms of acreage, but also productivity, especially when it comes to Tahiti lime. Another big advantage is the domestic production of Citrus Aurantifolia Swingle lemons, which are produced in an almost organic manner and are smaller than Tahiti limes, with great acidity and very good pulp," concludes Luis.

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