Peru: Camposol aims for year-round supply in avocados, blueberries - FreshFruitPortal.com

Peru: Camposol aims for year-round supply in avocados, blueberries

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Peru: Camposol aims for year-round supply in avocados, blueberries

As Peruvian fruit multinational Camposol builds its international brand visibility, the company is looking to new sourcing locations. At www.freshfruitportal.com, we look at how this ties in with two products in particular - avocados and blueberries.

Camposol chief commercial officer Jose Antonio Gomez

Camposol chief commercial officer Jose Antonio Gomez

Chief commercial officer Jose Antonio Gomez highlighted that Camposol's first big international effort in supplying non-Peruvian avocados was through a partnership with Chile’s Agricom, while last year it branched out to source Kenyan and Mexican fruit.

"We are building partnerships in Guatemala for 2014, and we will most likely do some investment in Colombia as well," Gomez told www.freshfruitportal.com during Fruit Logistica in Berlin this month.

"The little problem they  [Colombians] have is that those avocados are not up to the best level possible from a technical standpoint, so it will be very convenient for them that a company that is a little bit more advanced in that quality and technical know-how gets involved.

The executive also applauded moves by the Antioquia government in Colombia to support avocado growers through grants and research.

"It’s very helpful that the government and private companies invest money in order to increase the export level and get the most out of those hectares, because in that way the growers are going to have more incentive to keep growing.

He emphasized that avocado demand was growing too fast for supply to keep up, and the rate of production growth varied depending on the time of the season.

"There are some windows where there is no growth, period," he said.

"If you talk about the Chilean season, between September and February-March, there is no growth. Mexico’s growing a little bit in that timeframe, but nothing else.

"Peru is growing in the typical summer season but there are still some gaps that need to be filled, and Colombia could play a huge role in that."

Elsewhere in Latin America, he said the goal was to build sourcing in Mexico but for the moment there were no plans for investment in the country.

"I wouldn’t say it’s difficult but there’s a risk involved in setting up your own investment in Mexico, so I think it’s better to find the right partner and work long term with them."

In terms of African sourcing, he mentioned Kenyan avocado sourcing proved challenging last year.

"We did some containers from Kenya last year. It wasn’t the best experience for us, so it requires a bit more attention from the technical standpoint.

"For us being in South America, getting into faraway operations to help with technical support seems a little bit more complicated; further away than just going to Colombia that is around the corner for us."

To augment Camposol’s ambitious blueberry plans which exceed the current total production of Argentina in the space of a few years, the business will be looking to forge deals with Northern Hemisphere producers during the counterseason.

"Our intention is to maybe have production from Peru from the end of August to the end of March, and stay in the market for the rest of the season with North American blueberries, and European blueberries into Europe, with the Camposol brand.

"The whole strategy is to keep the brand in the market as much as we can.”

Gomez forecast Camposol’s blueberry production to be two million kilograms in 2014, which will jump to five million in 2015.

"And from five we’ll got to 12, and then to 20, and then on the way to 30 around 2018-20. 30 million kilos is double the volume that Argentina as a country does now, so it’s huge, and the speed at which the volume is going to increase is challenging."

He said the Asian market showed good potential for both fruits, with Peruvian authorities working on market access in China, where expectations were high that a deal could be reached this year.

"We would like China to open for blueberries and avocados - both products have a lot of potential in China.

"We are already seeing the increase in consumption of blueberries, as well as avocados, and another market that needs to be opened is Japan for avocados and grapes.

"I believe there are a lot of different markets like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam where middle classes are growing exponentially and there’ll be more need for fruit and vegetables."

From Gomez’ perspective, Asia would likely become the company’s top, if not second-largest, fruit market for many items including blueberries, grapes and mangoes, but perhaps not for avocados.

"Right now we have been sending some fruit to Hong Kong. The market is really taking more fruit and in need of more of it.

"A lot of that [avocados] goes to retail. There are a couple of retailers who carry avocados and year after year, consumption is increasing."

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