Apples account for 31 percent of fruit imports in Colombia
Source: elespectador.com / FreshPlaza.com Publication date: Tue 29 Oct 2019
Even though Colombia potentially could produce 400 native species of fruit and hundreds of fruits from other countries, apples are the most consumed fruit in the country. Most of this fruit is imported from Chile and the United States to meet a demand of 1.8 kilos per capita per year. According to data from the DIAN, this product accounted for 31% of fruit imports last year and its share grew by 3% over 2017, reaching a value of 92 million dollars.
These figures have aroused the interest of one of the largest producers in the European Union: France. The agricultural potential of this country is so important that 52% of its area (28.7 million hectares) is destined to this activity, with an annual production of around 7.8 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 21% of the which (1.7 million tons) are sold outside the country.
Although most of the production is sold in other European countries, according to the companies in the sector, the market with the greatest potential today is the American market, which currently constitutes 1% of their exports, and Colombia is one of the strongest destinations, as consumption there has been growing for 10 years, according to the Ministry of Health.
Blue Whale, which annually produces 270,000 tons of apples, kiwis, and plums, thanks to its alliance with 300 producers and fourteen cooperatives, is one of the companies that have been taking advantage of this expansion opportunity and that is gaining market share. Currently, they sell fruit worth 260 million euro each year in America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Of these, 10 million remain in Latin America, mainly in Colombia and Brazil.
Marc Peyres, the commercial director of Blue Whale, said that, despite being very competitive, Colombia was a strategic market because it is growing, it demands fruits 12 months a year, and it is in need of new varieties of all sizes. In fact, the company is working to introduce at least four new references of apples (Arianne, Golden, Candine, and Isabel) to the country, apart from the three traditional ones that are already sold there (Gala, Granny Smith, and Red). Their goal is to close the year with 4,000 tons sold.
Fleuron d'Anjou International (FDA), one of the leading French companies in the segment, has also been selling apples to Colombia for 20 years and considers the country a priority, as it allows it to consolidate annual sales for seven million euro outside Europe, which account for 10% of their income.
According to data from Interfel, France's national inter-professional agricultural association, the country is expected to produce 1.6 million tons of apples this year, 3,000 tons of which will be sent to Colombia between September and February. Daniel Soares, the international trade manager of Interfel, stressed that the guild, made up of more than 200,000 companies between producers, distributors, and exporters, has an international sales program in which America plays a leading role.
Robert Barceló - Senior Manager, Business Development