Colombia has set itself the ambitious target of doubling its agricultural land area in five years in order to take advantage of the “huge opportunity” created by the country’s free trade agreement with the US.
The Ministry of Agriculture, MinAgricultura, plans to sow 1m hectares dedicated to the fruit and vegetables, forestry, cocoa, palm oil, rubber, maize and soya bean sectors, taking total planted area to 2m ha.
MinAgricultura said in a press release that the country’s agricultural exports had risen by 14.3 per cent in the 20 months since the FTA was signed, reaching US$3.43bn. Taking into consideration the US$1.38bn of agricultural products imported into the South American country, this represents a positive trade balance of U$2bn.
Speaking during a discussion meeting on trade organised by the government, Proexport and Semana magazine, Santiago Rojas, Colombia’s minister of trade, industry and tourism, said the figures are proof that the trade according poses no threat to the future of Colombia’s agriculture industry. “Colombia is destined to be an important supplier of foodstuffs to global markets and achieving greater integration through trade provides the perfect platform from which to achieve this,” he said.
Agriculture minister Rubén Darío Lizarralde said the FTA had created a market of 1.3bn consumers, rather than 47m, for Colombian products.