"We must encourage associativity in the Colombian countryside. We must work together between government, businessmen and farmers to realize our full potential" says Miguel Sáenz, general manager of Sáenz Fety, a Colombian company with more than 60 years of experience selling seeds for fodder and vegetables.
This entrepreneur also emphasizes the role that innovation and technology must play in order to improve production. And he does so knowingly, as Sáenz Fety opened, a few months ago, the doors of its Innovation and Development Center located in Funza (Cundinamarca, Colombia), a 'living laboratory' that serves to test the best practices in the seeds cultivation to improved productivity.
Thus, in its computer controlled greenhouses, Saenz Fety has produced about 50 kilos of tomato per square meter, when the average in Colombia is 8 kilos. Leading countries like Holland reach productions around 80 kilos per square meter.
"We achieved this through hydroponic crops generating ideal conditions for the tomato, for example we recreate the ideal temperature for their cultivation, we try several fertilizers to create the ideal environment that works with our seeds, we favor a good pollination. Summarizing, we put the technology to service and test our seeds in the best way, which turns into greater productivity and therefore benefits farmers" explains Miguel Sáenz.
The entrepreneur clarifies that, in addition, Colombia must define which are the lines in which it can be efficient and competitive. "There are opportunities in many exotic Colombian fruits, such as gulupa, uchuva, passion fruit and blueberries. Pineapple is another fruit that is becoming very important. All these products have a high international demand that must be leveraged" he says.
In that sense Miguel Sáenz adds that the country should not close itself to the opportunities existing in the international scenarios, but it should be much more assertive when signing trade agreements with markets that require our products.
It is not the discovery of all the potential that Colombia has in agriculture, but it is worth noting that for the country to become a world food pantry, all actors in the chain must work together, having the innovation and technology as guides to maximize productivity and be more competitive.
- In the first quarter of this year, while the economy as a whole grew by a timid 1.1%, the agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector increased by a robust 7.7%, according to DANE (National Administrative Department of Statistics) figures.
- Exports of the agricultural products, food and beverages group in the period January - June 2017 were 3,765.5 million FOB dollars and presented a variation of 7%, according to DANE data.
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