Global produce trader Terra Exports is eyeing consolidation in the Latin American tropical fruit sector having recently established a new division there amid soaring demand in global markets.
Earlier this month the Las Vegas-headquartered company announced that another division, Terra Export Tropicals, would now operate out of an office in the Colombian capital Bogota, supplying customers with a wide range of fruit from the region.
Ana Milena Pereira, the division's sales director, explained that the company has had an office in Bogota for a while now but until recently it only exported passionfruit and pitahaya (a.k.a. dragon fruit) from Colombia and Ecuador.
However, since last year Terra Exports has significantly increased the number of produce items and countries it works with, now offering a comprehensive selection of fruits and vegetables from dozens of grower partners.
"We found a space in the market to supply tropical fruits from South and Central America to Asia, the Middle East and Europe," Milena told FreshFruitPortal.com."It was all driven by customers' demand - we started to just offer a few products and then they started asking us for many more."
She noted that Asian markets seemed generally more willing to pay price premiums for high-quality tropical fruits, although demand was growing quickly in markets where they were less established, like Europe.
That business had been moving along slowly before with the limited selection of tropicals, she added, but demand has been booming with the increased portfolio, with sales in January up 200% year-on-year.
"Now for example we have rambutan and pineapple from Costa Rica, papaya from Brazil, avocados, baby bananas and mangoes from Colombia, all kinds of passionfruit," she said. "Last year we did a large number of sales with many of these products."
The company has rapidly increased the number of grower partners it works with in Latin America and plans further consolidation in the sector amid numerous requests from other tropical fruit farmers to work together. Milena explained that 2019 would largely be focused on seeing how everything goes with the new division formally established.
"We want to satisfy our customers' needs and help our growers to improve their production and revenues. At the same time of course we want to increase the number of growers and want to open new markets, but that’s a longer process and for now we want to consolidate and see how everything works."
Terra Exports, which describes itself as a "fast-paced, entrepreneurial and innovative" trading company has a second office in South America, based in Santiago, Chile, from where it exports fruits including apples, blueberries and table grapes.