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Colombian pineapple to hit international markets

Bengala Agrícola S.A.S. is a Colombian agricultural producer and exporter based in Cali, in the Cauca Valley; one of the country's engines for economic development. The company's plantations are in the municipality of Pradera.

"The group the company belongs to has traditionally been devoted to sugarcane production. Three years ago, the possibility of diversifying into other crops was suggested and we started some research, which drew our attention to horticulture, since traditionally Colombia has focused solely on exotics like pitaya or gulupa," affirms Mauricio López Noguera.

Pineapples, according to Mauricio, are perfectly suited to Colombia's tropical climate, with the added advantage of the country's rich water resources. "Our agronomic planning in the Cauca Valley allows us to keep production levels steady all year round, ensuring continuity of supply to our clients."

In addition to this factor, which will allow Colombia to have market presence even at times when big producers like Costa Rica reduce their supply, the country's lower levels of rainfall are another clear advantage, "because it makes possible to reduce the number of agrochemical treatments by 40-50%," assures Mauricio.

He affirms that Colombia currently has 12,000 hectares for the production of pineapples, corresponding to three varieties: Perolera, Manzana and MD2 (or Golden). "The latter is the fastest-growing, with a total of 2,000 hectares already planted."

According to Mauricio, Colombia's productivity per hectare has reached 130 tonnes, while Costa Rica produces 100-105 tonnes per hectare, which entails another competitive advantage. "This year we have distributed about 4.6 million kilos in the domestic market and are leaders in terms of brand awareness, fruit quality, productivity and acreage."

Bengala Agrícola will plant 500 hectares of MD2 pineapple in 2015

With regard to exports, there are negotiations with Korea, Israel and the European Union. "Our strategic plan targets the Southern Cone (Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) between February and September, with 8-10 weekly containers; from October 2016, with 10-12 containers, we will start penetrating the European and North American markets," explains Mauricio. "This will make us the country's largest fruit exporter, only surpassed by banana companies."

Bengala Agrícola S.A.S. has also been instrumental in the formation of the Association of Pineapple Producers of Colombia. "Our work, therefore, has not just been as an individual company, but has also served to create an entity that will help us increase our supply volumes and strengthen our position in the global market," concludes Mauricio.

More information:
Mauricio Lopez Noguera
Tel.: (57) (2) 4855974
[email protected]
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