Cartama packhouse Colombia

Colombian avocado exports to Europe grew 90 per cent between January and May 2021 compared to the year-earlier period, reaching US$110m, according to trade promotion agency ProColombia.

Beyond the UK, which saw a 90.4 per cent increase, other European markets with strong growth included Belgium (778 per cent), Romania (631 per cent), Russia (547 per cent), Germany (344 per cent), France (268 per cent), The Netherlands (64.5 per cent), and Spain (48.2 per cent).

Colombia has become a key player in the supply of Hass avocados to Europe, with a market share of 30 per cent, according to CorpoHass.

As well as increasing its presence in Europe, Colombia is working hard to open up new export markets.

Jorge Enrique Restrepo, executive director of CorpoHass, said: “Thanks to the efforts of the Institute of Colombian Agriculture and the government, we have succeeded in gaining access to seven new markets in the past four years: the US, Argentina, Japan, China, Peru, South Korea and Chile.

“This allows us to diversify exports and reduce our dependency on the European market.”

Restrepo said the sector continued to be very dynamic and has become a major part of Colombia’s non-traditional agricultural exports.

It is attracting a lot of foreign investment from countries like Chile, South Africa, the US and Peru and producers are working hard to qualify for new export markets by becoming accredited in national and international standards such as GlobalGAP and Rainforest Alliance.

Processors also play a more important role as one of the sales alternatives for fruit destined for the national market.

A total of 77,190 tonnes were exported in 2020, an increase of 73 per cent compared with the previous year, Restrepo said. In terms of value, exports grew 64 per cent to US$146.4m.