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Good results for Colombian avocados

The Colombian Hass avocado sector has been growing tremendously in recent years. The country's excellent climatic and soil conditions, its conduciveness to relatively low production costs, and its privileged geopolitical position, added to the various FTA's which it has with the world's major markets, all point to a promising future.

"This year we saw an unprecedented expansion of new business projects and planting in the Colombian coffee-producing region, which offers excellent agro-ecological conditions, and where many entrepreneurs from Antioquia have migrated, attracted by the cost of the land, the lower urban pressure and the availability of labourers," explains Andrés Mejía, executive director of CORPOHASS.

Over the last year, more than 1,000 new hectares have been set up, reaching a total of 10,000 hectares, of which 60% have already reached their productive stage, which starts 3 years after the planting. The plants' peak productive stage is reached after 7 years.

"Only a small percentage of the hectares in production have reached their peak, so we believe that growth will be exponential in the coming years," states Andrés, stressing that, "while 70 containers were exported last season, the prospect for the 2014-2015 campaign is to reach 160."

While Colombia's production is not characterised by high mechanisation, the yield obtained from 7 year old fields is of around 15 tonnes per hectare. Andrés notes that "some farms have implemented mid-tech irrigation systems and have obtained even greater returns."

While Colombia also has access to Canada and the Caribbean, 98% of its Hass exports go to Europe.

Earlier this season, in October and November, the Colombian fruit already achieved very good returns thanks to the drop in Chilean fruit production volumes; in December, prices went slightly down because of the higher volumes of Spanish and Israeli avocados, but according to Andrés, the price is still very attractive.

"We also expect avocados to reach good prices in February and March, as they will be shipped by the end of the Spanish and Israeli seasons, and Peru will only just be starting its season. Those 5 to 6 weeks, Colombian avocados have historically obtained excellent returns and this will continue to be the case, as nowadays it is still the only producer with that window available," concludes Andrew.

More information:
Andrés Eduardo Mejía Hernández
[email protected]

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