Nicaragua is becoming Walmart's Central America's leading red pitahaya supplier. Compared to last year, the company's export volume of Nicaraguan pitahaya has grown by 67% this year.
"Since 2021, we have been experiencing this export dynamic of Nicaraguan red pitahaya; however, we at Walmart have been working on this for 3 years, preparing capacities in the field, reviewing logistics issues, among other things," stated Edgard Lira, manager of Fruit and Vegetable Purchases at Walmart Nicaragua.
"The countries of the north are showing excellent acceptance and accelerated placement, so there is a very reasonable expectation of growth in these niche markets year after year. We plan to close 2022 with an approximate purchase of 22,000 boxes of pitahaya, which amounts to some 6.5 million córdobas," the executive stated, adding that this does not affect the local supply.
In Nicaragua, Walmart works with five other pitahaya producers to supply the country's 102 stores and other markets in the region. In 2022 alone, producer Marlon Lopez Bustos, from Ticuantepe, San Ignacio community, has increased his deliveries by 61% over the past year.
"We've only been supplying Walmart for 15 months and we are seeing accelerated results. This year, for example, some 5,400 boxes of our pitahaya were sent abroad," said the national producer.
The goal is to progressively increase the current pitahaya production of these suppliers by 25 to 30% via Walmart's Tierra Fértil program. "The plan is not to expand the production area, but to increase production by area, seeking efficiency and sustainability. Nicaragua is opening up other markets, such as the United States and Europe, where pitahaya is being recognized for its quality,” Lira stated.