Tropicals get their day in the sun in Argentina
Argentina's domestic market for tropical fruit has now reached sales of US$300 million while growers have also found a host of export opportunities worldwide, newspaper Clarin reported.
Also classified as exotics, the broad definition covers mangoes, papayas, litchis, pineapples and bananas, and also includes kiwifruit, berries and Asian pears.
Specialists told the publication that 30% of Argentina's 'exotic' fruits were exported, while domestic consumption did not exceed 5kg (11lbs) per person each year.
Northwestern Argentina (NOA) is the leading production region, followed by Northeastern Argentina (NEA) and the southern part of the Buenos Aires province.
According to Argentina's National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA), the activity has a strong impact on the economies of NOA and NEA, with pinapples, papayas, avocados, bananas and mangoes accounting for 115,350 metric tons (MT), the story reported.
"In NOA we have 3,500 hectares of bananas, 350 hectares of mangoes, 200 hectares of avocados, 70 hectares of papayas and 25 hectares of passion fruit," José Luis Checa of the Salta Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association told the newspaper, adding there were about 200 producers growing these fruits in the region.
"This activity is a very important tool for the development of rural economies. Another great advantage of these crops is import substitution," Checa was quoted as saying.