Colombia: Fruty Green upbeat about new Peruvian avocado partnership

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Colombia: Fruty Green upbeat about new Peruvian avocado partnership

Colombian avocado grower-exporter Fruty Green is building a new packing plant to harness opportunities in Europe and the United States, while a new partnership with Peruvian group Agrícola Cerro Prieto is set to bolster the operation. 

Jorge Uribe of Fruty Green.

Speaking with Fresh Fruit Portal during the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit last week, Fruty Green co-owner Jorge Uribe provided more details about the agreement.

"It’s a partnership without adding joint investment to the picture. They have knowhow and expertise, and we have an old friendship," Uribe said.

"Daniel's [Bustamante, of ACP] father is a good friend of mine of 20 years and Alfonso Bustamante is the founder of the operation. They wrote to me saying they wanted to see Colombia, which is a newcomer in avocados today."

Not only has Colombia seen exponential growth in avocado exports in recent years, driven mainly by the European market, but the country recently gained access to the U.S. market and will also play host to the World Avocado Congress in 2019.

It is in this context that a partnership with a Peruvian group makes a lot of sense for a company like Fruty Green.

"We told them we are going to set up our own packing plant and we’ll help you, and asked if they could please give us their expertise," Uribe said.

"And in an open and friendly way they have opened their doors to us, they have shared all their experiences, they have put our plans under the scrutiny of their experts and have given us advice and recommendations of all sorts."

So what have been the biggest lessons so far?

"Many. These are people who have been in the business 15-20 years and they have a huge operation. It's huge - Cerro Prieto has something like 1,500 hectares under production of avocados," Uribe said.

"We are beginning the construction of a 3,000 square meter plant where we'll be packing our avocados and those of other growers in the vicinity."

The packing facility is in the municipality of Guatica, in the smaller-sized department of Risaralda in the Colombian Andean region known as the "eje cafetero" in Spanish, or the "coffee-growing axis" in English.

"We have three plantations – the oldest is 10 years old at an altitude of about 2,350 meters," Uribe said.

"Then about four or five years ago we bought a larger plot of land in Guatica and now just last year we bought a third, and we already have 300 hectares of plantations. We have over 65,000 trees planted, all of the Hass variety.

"We’re very happy and full of enthusiasm and optimism looking towards the future."


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