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Colombian Tropical and Exotic Fruit producers explore the European market

From 26 October until 1 November CBI organized a Market Orientation Mission for Colombian Tropical and Exotic Fruit producers which took place in the Netherlands and Spain. Participating companies produce all kinds of (semi)-tropical and exotic fruits, such as papaya, (purple) passion fruit, physalis, granadilla, guanabana, Tahiti limes, granadilla and (Hass) avocado. The objective of the mission was to familiarize the participants with the EU market and train them on export marketing, management and promotion techniques relevant to these markets.

The Market Orientation Mission Tropical & Exotic Fresh Fruit Colombia is part of the 4-year CBI Country Programme Colombia.

Sector-specific training sessions
The 7 participating companies had the chance to visit and get to know several cities, such as Amsterdam and Madrid. The Market Orientation Mission provided the participants with various sector-specific training sessions, including themes such as EU market and industry structure and trends, buying strategies, promotional instruments, preparation for trade fairs, distribution issues, and sustainability.

Trade fair and company visits
Part of the Market Orientation Mission training was the visit to a trade fair, Fruit Attraction in Madrid. Next to this, various company visits were scheduled, varying from importers and distributors to packing/handling companies and retailers.They were provided with presentations, among others, by Leon Mol (Senior Manager Product Integrity at Ahold and a member of the Global GAP board) about CSR & Global GAP and by Djuke van der Maat (Nieuw Slagmaat), winner of the European Innovation Prize for Women farmers 2014 and Nuffield Farming Scholarship alumni, about the new way of agricultural thinking and how to reach the (local) consumers.

Buyers panel
Furthermore, a buyers panel on October 27th was organised in the NH Atlanta Rotterdam.Importers of Exotic and Tropical Fruit were present and presentations were given by Koen Maes (Special Fruit) and Cindy van Rijswick (Rabobank). The event was closed with an interactive discussion about 'The consumer of the future' and a network session.

ProColombia, Asohofrucol and Analdex
During the whole week, the companies were accompanied by representatives of CBI partner organisations ProColombia, Asohofrucol and Analdex in order to organise follow-up activities when they get back to Colombia and support the companies when the CBI programme comes to an end.
One of the follow-up activities for the companies after the mission is starting the process of obtaining GlobalGAP certification. Overall, the companies considered the mission a very interesting week which provided them with useful insights and tools to further develop their strategies for the European market.