As part of the process to boost its production and exports, Colombia is working on the introduction of unconventional products for the domestic market, but in high demand in the international markets. Cherry tomatoes are an example of such initiatives. Alejandro Moreno, representative of Exportadora JJLE, is working on a project that promises to turn Colombia into an exporter of organic cherry tomatoes.
"As a country, we are thinking about the future. We started with this project a couple of years ago and we are about to make it a reality. We have now reached a weekly production of 4 tonnes of cherry tomatoes grown with good agricultural practices. This production remains stable throughout the year, so we have a great capacity to export," affirms Moreno.
Colombia's internal market is not a major consumer of this product, so the goal would be for the entire production to be shipped to international destinations. "To be able to export, we would only need to find a financial partner to set up a strategic alliance. If we take into account that European markets such as Finland pay fairly attractive prices for a kilo of organic tomatoes, this really is a great business opportunity," assures the representative.
Colombia has many wild lands, which make organic farming an alternative for this project. "While we do not currently have organic products, it is definitely possible for us to grow them, as there is enough available land to plant 100% organic crops. Our project includes 12 hectares, which would guarantee 15 tonnes of organic produce per week during the 52 weeks of the year. Producers in the area are willing to make the switch from traditional to organic, so we have all the resources; we only lack funding," stresses the spokesperson.
At present, there are 10 growers working on the project, but the trend of organic farming is beginning to settle in the region, so in the near future we could have the support of more producers. "The weather makes it possible for us to grow in the right conditions and we have open markets in Europe and the United States; moreover, the protocol required by China to export fresh products there is under study, so the possibilities are endless. And while the major product in this project is cherry tomatoes, we have the capacity to work with other products," concludes Moreno.
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