US Gives Green Light To Colombian Hass Avocados

Cartagena – More investment, more employment and growth for the industry, are the benefits that brings to the country the fact that the United States has already given green light to the entry of hass avocado in fresh from Colombia to that market.

"Today I announce that the United States has reached an agreement for Colombia's avocado hass to enter the US market. I want to congratulate you President (Juan Manuel) Santos and his Government, "said Vice President Mike Pence during the press conference following his bilateral meeting with President Santos during his official visit to Colombia.

Pence highlighted the progress of the Trade Agreement which he said has created jobs and opportunities in both nations.

This approval by the United States is a process in which the country has worked for more than 10 years and finally the admissibility was achieved to this destination.

"The United States is a market with a lot of potential that in 2016 imported about USD 2 billion, almost 90% was bought from Mexico. So it is an opportunity that opens for Colombian producers, "said Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, María Claudia Lacouture.

The opening of the United States could mean for producers and exporters of avocado hass, doubling the exports that Colombia is making today to the world, which reached US $ 25.2 million as of June this year. Everything was sold to Europe.

 "Europe is only half the US market, so opening up the latter destination means that exports could double. And we must have a high sense of responsibility to produce and sell with high quality standards, to safeguard the good image of this product, "said Jorge Alberto Uribe, representative of the firm Fruty Green.

This market will also translate into more formal jobs. For example, in an area of ??180 hectares of hass avocado planting, where three years ago there were 8 formal employees, now has 55 and the estimate is that in a year and a half, and with exports to the United States, Increase those jobs to 150. That is, the personnel plant would be tripled in a single building.

Meanwhile, Pedro Aguilar, president of Westsole Fruit Colombia, while expressing his complacency with the news, said that this is a motivation for more entrepreneurs to work on their farms to reach that market.

 "Admissibility in the United States is the best promotional support given to the industry. It is the largest and fastest access market for avocado hass in fresh. This will represent in a relatively short time, a growth of this sector, "Aguilar said.

He explained that for Colombian exporters, the United States will represent shorter transportation times and lower logistics costs because it is a closer market for Colombia. Today that product is sold almost entirely to Europe.

In addition, the opening of this destination will boost foreign investment from that source, as happened in Mexico, because buyers there will be interested in having a presence in Colombia.

The entrepreneurs are aware of signatures from South Africa, Chile, Peru and the United States related to avocado hass that have arrived and others that announce their arrival in the country, with the expectation of the opening of this market.

"We already signed a marketing and marketing agreement with the largest importer of hass avocado in the United States, entering the country through the Cartma Group," said Cartama's representative, Ricardo Uribe.

He also stressed that Colombia already knows and knows the discipline of exporting to the United States, since for 50 years it has been exporting flowers to that market and there is already a huge experience. "We are new to avocado, but not in that market."


Colombia is the third largest producer of avocados of all types, but is not yet among the major exporters of this product. San Vicente Ferrer, in Antioquia; Pácora in Caldas; Salento, in the Quindío; Guática and Quinchia, in Risaralda and 92 municipalities more than eight departments are changing that by giant steps. 

While in 2011 the world exported USD 171,000 in Colombian avocados, in 2015 sales reached USD 10.5 million. In 2016 USD 35 million were exported, equivalent to 18,200 tons.

This year through June, exports total USD 25.2 million, corresponding to 13,556 tons. In dollars, growth is 34.8%, compared to the first half of 2016 when exports were USD 18.7 million, which was 9,419 tonnes.

Avocado hass, a variety of this fruit that enjoys a predilection among the consumers of the planet for its size, fat content, flavor and nutritional qualities, is the food that is opening the door of the world markets to the national agribusiness.

"This is a country initiative: Colombia has proposed to be a recognized agent in fresh avocado worldwide, for the continuity and stability of the supply and competitive price, also introducing itself in the international market of processing, generating employment of quality and development Sustainable rural, "said Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Maria Claudia Lacouture.

The National Government prioritized avocado hass as a National Strategic Interest Project (PINE), under which the ministries of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Agriculture and Foreign Affairs work under the leadership of the Presidency of the Republic. Entities affiliated to these portfolios: ICA, ProColombia and the Productive Transformation Program (PTP), as well as the producers, exporters and the Corpohass-Analdex guild.

The Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario has registered 744 production sites in Colombia, covering 5,780 hectares. The total area is estimated at 13,500 hectares.

 Most of the registered crops, 740, are distributed in the departments of Antioquia (305), Caldas (127), Cauca (81), Huila (9) Quindío (41) Risaralda, (120), Tolima Valle del Cauca (20).

The municipalities where the production is concentrated are distributed as follows: 36 in Antioquia, 29 in the Eje Cafetero (15 in Caldas, 8 in Quindío, 6 in Risaralda) 10 in Valle, 8 in Tolima, 7 in Cauca and 5 in Huila. Atlántico, Bolívar, Cauca and Magdalena have one each.

The increase in areas sown in hass avocados of 126% in the last five years and of 38% in the criollos stands out. Between 2015 and 2016, an additional 4,672 hectares were planted.

In Colombia, of the US $ 35 million exported in 2016, 52.7% came from Antioquia; 22.7% from Risaralda, 7.4% from Bogota, 5.8% from Caldas; 4.6 of Quindio, 4.5% came from Cundinamarca; And 1.8% was exported from the Valle del Cauca.

Currently 58 hass avocado exporters are registered with the ICA, which are located mostly in Capital District (19) Antioquia (12), Caldas (7), Valle del Cauca (6), Quindío (5) Cundinamarca ( 3) and Risaralda (2).


 Improving crop productivity and addressing the phytosanitary barriers that hass avocado has to export to the United States is the main objective of the first project that will receive resources and technical assistance from the 'El Agro Exporta' alliance between the ministries of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and Agriculture and Rural Development, and that executes the Program of Productive Transformation (PTP) for small and medium producers to produce avocado hass with the quality to export.

This project will be executed by the National Association of Foreign Trade (Analdex). Impactará to 782 producers of seven departments: Antioquia, Quindío, Caldas, Risaralda, Tolima, Valle del Cauca and Cauca, where most of the 14,000 hectares of avocado hass grown in Colombia are concentrated.

The crops in these departments need to comply with the phytosanitary requirements demanded by the United States sanitary authority (APHIS) to obtain access of the Colombian product to this market. This includes phytosanitary measures to prevent, control or eradicate pests that affect producing farms.

The small and medium-sized producers benefiting from the project will receive technical assistance, trade and inspection and control of crops in order to ensure a pest-free status that does not exist in the United States, the main importer of hass avocado in the world.


In figures, the goal is to export USD 80 million in 2018 from avocado hass in fresh (from tree to table). For this year the export projection is USD 65 million.

The business plan for Colombia's avocado aims to reach a share of world trade of 7% by 2030, expanding direct employment to 12,454 people (of which 5,486 in hass) and the cultivated area to 31,134 hectares (16,582 in hass ).

"Colombia seeks to position itself among the eight world exporters of fresh avocado in a sustained way, linking the small producers, and integrating the different actors of the chain of production in chains to generate greater productivity and added value, to guarantee the generation of exportable, As we have already done with the productive clusters of Antioquia, the coffee-growing region, Valle and Tolima, "said Minister Lacouture.

The aim is to unify the efforts of all those involved in the production chains: nurseries where the seed is produced, the farms where the fruit is grown, and the processors where it is packaged and prepared for export.

At present, the main destinations for Colombian hass avocado exports are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and France.

The markets of China, Chile, Korea and Japan are in sight. Phytosanitary admissibility is currently being worked on. It is the right moment due to the growth trend of world demand and the international market with prices up.

The national strategy advances in: phytosanitary admissibility (in the target markets), generation of exportable supply in accordance with the requirements of international markets and international promotion to strengthen Colombian hass avocado as a product of country brand.

Colombia has the possibility of production in two harvests obtained per year and has excellent climate and soil conditions in different regions of the country.

The Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario, ICA, constantly advances the guarantees of the fulfillment of phytosanitary requirements through the issuance of regulatory resolutions; Characterization, management, monitoring and surveillance at the points of cultivation, packing, transportation and shipment; And negotiating conditions with their international peers.

The geo-strategic position of Colombia is favorable in relation to Peru, Ecuador and Chile (fewer days of transport to Europe and the East Coast USA).

Colombia has received international support from the European Union, the World Bank and the Dutch Cooperation Agency for pest control programs, quality assurance and generation and exportable supply.


The United States has doubled its avocado consumption between 2005 and 2014 and 96 percent of that demand corresponds to hass avocado.

US imports of this fruit went from USD 913.7 million in 2012 to USD 1.993 billion in 2016.

The market is boosted by Hispanic population growth, the trend toward healthy and ethnic food, and advocacy.

The ICA is currently advancing the operational plan of work to ensure that the defined Colombian properties, with a safety area of ??one kilometer in the round, produce a pest-free hass avocado.

This work includes sensitizing and training in good practices not only to the producer of the fruit, but also to the owners of the neighboring farms.

Last May, during the visit of the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, to the United States, his counterpart Donald Trump announced his willingness and support to successfully complete the process of entering that market.

Due to its biodiversity on thermal floors, Colombia has availability of avocado hass most of the year with production peaks between October and March, which would favor the constant supplying marking difference compared to the competing countries.

Source: Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Republic of Colombia