Hass avocado business gets off the ground in Ecuador

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Hass avocado business gets off the ground in Ecuador

Hass avocado production is gaining momentum on the coast of Ecuador, where a farm of Chilean investor Roderick Maclean Boyd offers high hopes to local farmers looking to get involved with the crop.

Boyd's farm in the southern region of Santa Elena - close to the key port of Guayaquil - has been described as a benchmark of future production.

"This farm is the starting point for the producers who want to get into this business," said the director of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INIAP), Andres Andrade.

Ecuador's Ministry of Agriculture says 10,000 hectares could generate at least US$350m annually. However, the Ecuadorian production model will be based on the agronomic experience of Andres Villamil, the administrator of Paltos   Santa Elena.

Villamil said the company will have the first significant harvest next year. The trees were planted in August 2018.

"We should aim at producing at least three tons per hectare," he said.

According to the Ministry, Ecuador's avocado has sanitary access in approximately 30 destinations. It is a product with great demand, but producers must obtain certifications such as Global Gap, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), or ecological certification to enter more markets.

In the Paltos Santa Elena plantation, producers grafted the Hass variety onto the Zutano variety. INIAP's goal now is to work on a breeding program that will allow Ecuador to have material for the demand to come.

The government and private companies are working to develop this type of crop that can generate resources quickly for large investors and for families in areas suitable for cultivation.

"It may work for family farming with community members," the INIAP stated.

These projects will be promoted through BanEcuador and the National Guarantee Fund with the expansion of credit lines, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. 

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