Colombia kicks off Hass harvest with national focus

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Colombia kicks off Hass harvest with national focus

With 6,000 hectares of Hass avocado entering production in Colombia, the nation is expected to produce around 40,000 tons (MT) of the fruit from now until April.avocado_81589066

Colombia has a total 9,000ha dedicated to Hass, 6,000ha of which will begin production this month, explained Colombian Horticultural Association (Asohofrucol) manager Álvaro Palacio.

Export volume will remain low, however, given difficulties meeting phytosanitary requirements.

"There will only be 2,000MT for export. First, because the producers are not certified and second, because avocado exports require a test for traces of chemicals in the fruit," Palacio said.

"There are sometimes problems and the fruit can't past the exam, which means producers can't export. That is why the estimate is at 2,000MT. These will go in great part to the U.S. and a bit to Europe."

Colombia has also been limited by a technology gap that has made it difficult for producers to push yields to a level that keeps them price competitive.

"We are working on projects to increase Hass avocado productivity in Colombia. First, we are going to support producers that, at the moment, do not have benefits. Second, we will increase planting areas to increase exports," Palacio said.

Beginning next season, Asohofrucol hopes to have more tools available to promote Colombian production.

"These measures are already being applied nationally, especially in Tolima and Cauca. We are going to work on this over the next year," he said.

The main zones for Hass avocado production in Colombia are Antioquia, Cafetero, Cauca, Cundinamarca and Tolima.

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