Assuring a Sustainable Supply of High Quality Hass Avocados

The Tropical and Exotic Fresh Fruit (TEFF) project is part of the Country Programme for Colombia that the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) is currently implementing. This programme which runs from 2014 to 2018, aims to position 6 Colombian export sectors in the European market. One of the current projects is the Colombian Hass Avocado Project in Colombia.

There is a growing demand for Hass avocados on the European market, and in Colombia this crop can grow almost year-round because of its different climates. While at national level the avocado is seen as a strategic product for export, the country only has a  short history in avocado cultivation. With the high demand of avocados worldwide, and a low supply, the quality of the avocado has become a point of discussion as a result of new and (inexperienced) farmers of the avocado. CBI aims to address and overcome these issues through a Colombian avocado project together with its main project partners ProColombia, ASOHOFRUCOL, ANALDEX. Together they aim to improve the quality and re-establish the image of Hass avocados from Colombia by tackling meso-level bottlenecks in a sustainable manner to assure long-term successes. The expected outcome of this programme is threefold and related to quality, quality standards and the promotion of Colombian avocados in the European market.

Firstly, the aim is to have improved knowledge and practices among agronomists, farmers and packers throughout the avocado cultivation and post-harvest processes, In practical terms it means that we’re  trying to set up a training program for growers and packers to lift the Colombian sector as a whole. To do this, CBI is working with Colombia’s National Training Service (SENA), which provides training to growers for free. Secondly,  the goal is to improve the national quality norms for avocados so that they specifically include the Hass variety for export and to guide producers and exporters while taking European importers’ requirements into account. Finally, with these guidelines and improved knowledge in place, the Colombian Hass avocado is ready for gaining a better position on the European market by assuring this high quality product and improving the position of Colombia as an active exporter of fruit and vegetables.

As such, this collective effort will be able to assure a high quality Colombian Hass avocado and positioning Colombia as an innovative trading partner in the fruit sector. In all the sector-level issues, CBI’s strategy is to ensure that all knowledge and capacities generated by the project will be embedded in local structures and institutions, in order to ensure that solutions are sustainable and will last beyond the project’s duration.

As a first step in developing a promotion plan for the Colombian Hass avocado, we will look at the current market views of the Hass avocado. Therefore, CBI will start doing research on the image of Colombian Hass avocados among European importers through a survey specifically addressed to European importers. You can expect an invitation to participate in this survey in January 2017.

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