The company that will plant 60,000 Hass avocado trees in Colombia in 2019
In 2016, GreenFruit Avocados carried out an exploratory mission to Colombia, which included a tour of the department of Valle del Cauca as well as Antioquia, regions located in the western part of Colombia. This mission resulted in attracting the company managers’ interest in investing and establishing a direct operation in Colombia—complementary to the current one in Mexico—for Hass avocado production and export
For Tony Bucio—CEO of the US company and of Mexican origin—operating in Colombia is attractive. "From my point of view, and compared to other markets, Colombia offers the most important natural elements for fruit production—particularly for the avocado, which includes an ideal climate all year round, good water conditions, and a lot of natural resources."
Bucio also highlights the warmth and professionalism of Colombians, since he has always felt very well received in his visits to the country. "There is great human potential; many people are prepared and qualified as agronomists, growers, and staff, willing to work the land and produce."
The Hass avocado is the most popular in international trade due to its eccentricity. When ripe, the skin acquires a dark, almost black tone. It has a nutty hazelnut flavor with a smooth and creamy texture.
This variety’s production in the Latin American region is mainly concentrated in Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, according to ProColombia reports.
In Colombia, GreenFruit Avocados is simultaneously initiating two divisions: the conventional division and the organic division. This is due to the strong sales relationships already made and in active operation with the United States market.
The company has been established in the department of Valle del Cauca, in the towns of Trujillo and Bolívar. "In that area, the land’s fertility is impressive," says Bucio.
Given its climate, various altitudinal layers, and nutrient-rich lands, Colombia offers fruits and vegetables throughout the year, a quality that is an added value and attractive for investors.
Currently, the US company is working with farming families with whom they have set important goals to develop orchards between 200 and 300 hectares each year for the next five years.
The estimated investment in Colombia for this year will exceed one million dollars, once all the hectares have been planted. This figure includes costs of seeds, labor, supplies, infrastructure, and work equipment.
On the other hand, given that there is only one packing facility in Cali, GreenFruit Avocados is forming partnerships with other important groups to build a joint packing facility that will begin operating in 2020.
The company’s main market is the United States. A subsidiary of GreenFruit Avocados exports approximately 50 containers per week from Mexico; this value is equivalent to almost 1,000 tons of avocado. They also send 10 additional containers of organic product. With its investment in Colombia, the company expects to have a global platform that covers sales in Canada, Asia, and Europe.
After its investment in Colombia, the company’s expectations include: being leaders in the development of countryside orchards, obtaining all the certifications required by global markets; having fruit safety programs; meeting quality standards; being leaders in Colombia's international exports; and generating employment. With regard to the latter, they have budgeted to hire between 40 and 50 employees for every 100 hectares.
The company decided to invest in avocados in Colombia because of the potential and high demand of the product. "We didn’t know, we didn’t realize that we were sitting on the most fertile lands, and in the ideal climates, to eventually amplify avocado production," said the business owner. They were so successful in Mexico that they decided to expand their productions to Colombia.
"I see that Colombia has great potential. I see it as the second largest avocado producer in the world, after Mexico," stated the investor.
GreenFruit Avocados counted on ProColombia’s support for its arrival and establishment in Colombia.