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José Antonio Castro, from Procesadora Torre Blanca, Peru:

"While the W. Murcott is the most widely planted variety, producers get the best prices for the Orri"

"As a company that provides processing and packing services to fruit and vegetable growers and exporters, if we are not able to reduce costs and improve our efficiency while also offering quality and affordability, we will have a hard time staying strong in an increasingly competitive market," says José Antonio Castro, Sales Executive of Procesadora Torre Blanca, based in Chancay, Peru. "And while we are not lacking competitors in the area where we work, we continue to serve several of the largest companies in the country, so we must be doing something right."

Procesadora Torre Blanca uses a Maf Roda sorting line for its mandarins.

Procesadora Torre Blanca was founded in 2007, at a time when there were hardly any fruit processing companies in the Chancay valley, located about 80 km north of the Peruvian capital. "During the first two years, nobody had experience in citrus and avocado processing. We worked very hard. It also wasn't easy to find and retain clients, as growers and exporters didn't know us or how we worked. Today we serve important companies such as Consorcio Productores de Fruta, Agrocosta Perú, Westfalia Perú, Giddings Berries Perú, Agro ISM and Exportadora el Parque, but also small and medium-sized producers," says José Antonio Castro.

Mandarin and avocado processing stand out
Mandarin processing accounts for 40% of the turnover of this packing company from the province of Huaral. Another 35% corresponds to avocado handling and packaging; 15% to blueberries, and the remaining 10% is generated by kakis, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and, since recently, pitayas. The majority of the products come from growers and exporters within a radius of around 200 km. "This year, we have attracted new clients who account for the largest exportable supply for avocado processing in Peru during the first quarter of the year."

Sorting line for conventionally grown avocados. Procesadora Torre Blanca has another, smaller line for organic avocados.

Not only a service provider, but also an exporter
Besides being a service provider, Procesadora Torre Blanca also exports avocados and mandarins to various importers in Canada, China, the U.S., Europe, the UK, Russia, and Central and Latin America. "We are building relationships with fruit producers in the area. We export about 300-400 containers a year, which are loaded with avocados from January to April, and with mandarins from March to October. We deliver the varieties Satsuma, W. Murcott, Primosole, Nova, Orri, Malvasio and Honey Tangerine. The latter goes to the United States, where it is highly appreciated for its sweetness. The W. Murcott, which is the most widely planted variety in Peru, is mainly intended for the North American market, while our Satsuma is shipped to Europe. And although the W. Murcott is the most widely planted variety, producers get the best prices for the Orri," says the Sales Executive.

Investing has become harder after four seasons of low incomes
According to the representative of Procesadora Torre Blanca, the last four seasons have been very difficult for citrus growers in Peru. "After the pandemic, growers and exporters had to face very high shipping costs, while for the last two years, due to the war in Europe, the costs of many inputs have risen. Also, last year's harvests were significantly reduced due to the impact of cyclone Yaku and the El Niño phenomenon. As a result, producers have hardly any income to invest in expanding the acreage, in new varieties or in technical improvements.

Cold storage at different temperatures.

China as a great opportunity
When shipments from South Africa start to arrive in the European market, Peruvian fruit is unable to compete with their lower prices, in spite of its high quality. "With the arrival of South African fruit, we are forced to withdraw from the European market. Asia then offers us great opportunities, and this will be even more so once the new port of Chancay starts operating, as the transit time will be reduced by about 12 days. This time saving will help improve the fruit's shelf life and reduce costs," says José Antonio Castro.

Mandarins for Oppy.

For more information:
José Antonio Castro
Procesadora Torre Blanca S.A.C.
Calle los Vencedores 205
Torreblanca, Chancay, Huaral - Peru
Tel.: +51 962 878 354
[email protected]

Group photo in front of the facilities of Procesadora Torre Blanca.

The mandarins are packed like doughnuts.

The mandarins in the top layer are wrapped in paper.

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