Exotics specialist TropiWorld is increasingly expanding into production, as it sees demand blossom for exotic roots, vegetables and fruits 

TropiWorld has stepped up its commitment to providing a one-stop shop for exotic produce, moving into the production side of the business to complement its existing packing and export operations.

Having originally forged farmer associations in Colombia, Thailand and Peru, the company has now started its own growing operations, including in Ecuador, Kenya, Rwanda and, new this year, Costa Rica.

“Before we were only packing and exporting, but now we’re doing the whole process,” says sales director Soraya Bahrami. “We have our own team of farmers, focusing on exotics, and we sell the produce all over, in the US, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia, as well as regionally in South America.”

According to Bahrami, the company has expanded significantly in the US market over the past two years, with demand for root vegetables growing rapidly.

“The market for roots is really taking off – yams, yuccas, taros, all those starchy vegetables that are popular with both Asian and Latin consumers in the US, as well as in Europe,” she says. “The Asian market in the US is sizeable. We grow a lot of these items in Costa Rica.”

TropiWorld is also producing fruits that are less familiar in Latin America. “Rambutan comes from Thailand, but we’re growing it now in Guatemala,” says Bahrami. “We’re innovating, trying to grow things in different areas, looking to achieve year-round availability.”

Bahrami says the market for exotic vegetables from Africa is also good at the moment, including for products like chillies and peas from Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.