“We took the opportunity to celebrate Colombian fresh produce and its potential in the UK market with our partners at Fresh Produce Consortium and our friends at Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters”
Truly amazing things are grown in Colombia! With the country’s incredibly diverse climate conditions and topographic variation, a huge variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, floral species and more thrive here throughout the year.
Recently, we had the opportunity to celebrate this very fact with our partners at the Fresh Produce Consortium who, through their activities and relationships, play a vital role in supporting opportunities and growth in the fresh produce sector, both within the UK and beyond.
As a new member of the association, this was the first joint event to promote Colombia’s fresh produce offerings. And what better way to do this than during an incredible coffee tasting session hosted by Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters — proud importers and roasters of the finest speciality coffee beans.
Acknowledging Current Achievements
To those attending the event, one thing was clear: Colombia’s abundance of high quality and diverse fresh produce gives it a competitive advantage in markets around the world.
In fact, thanks to its growing reputation as an exporter and strengthening relationships with various links in the global supply chain of fresh produce, the country is now recognised as one of the world’s leading agricultural pantries, according to the FOA.
Within the context of all this, it was refreshing to collaborate with businesses on the receiving end of Colombian produce and discuss ideas for the future, as well as explore how new digital tools and processes can help to connect producers and exporters with buyers, for the mutual benefit of everyone.
As an event open to fruit importers, trade media, technology companies, and e-commerce platforms with connections to fresh produce, it was also great to bring together different perspectives on the industry.
Importantly, the event provided the opportunity to share with key stakeholders the reasons why Colombian companies and products are ready for the UK market and the opportunities that now exist to connect and strengthen trade between both countries.
- Between January and August 2021, worldwide fresh fruit exports from Colombia reached £280 million, representing an increase of 58.8% YoY. Exports to the UK during this period accounted for £24.7 million, marking an increase of 76.3% YoY.
- Colombia’s fresh fruit production has recorded an annual growth of 4.8% in the last 5 years.
- Colombia has 632,639 hectares of land that are highly suitable for the cultivation of Hass avocado, of which only 13.1% is currently used.
- Between 2016 and 2020, Colombian avocado exports grew 317% reaching USD 146 million last year.
- Exotic fruit production is growing as well as exports. Physical production has increased 42% between 2015 and 2019 and passion fruit exports in 2020 grew 3.8% YoY.
- Colombia remains a key supplier to the UK: 1st in bananas, 2nd in chrysanthemums (cut flowers), 3rd in green coffee, 8th in fresh avocados, 9th in exotic fruits.
Reflecting on the Future of Colombian Fresh Produce
The reputation of Colombia as a producer of the finest specialty coffee in the world is a testament to the potential of the country as an exporter of agricultural products to international markets like the UK.
As we reflected on the rapidly growing avocado trade between Colombia and the UK; the amazing prospects of Tahiti limes and exotic fruits such as physalis and passion fruit; as well as the steady demand for Colombian fruits like bananas, it was fitting that we could do all this while enjoying perhaps the country’s most famous export product: coffee.
At ProColombia, part of what we do is help to connect Colombian businesses with buyers and partners in the UK so that strong long-term relationships can be formed that support local communities, independent businesses and the wider economy. And as our first year of membership of the FPC, we were delighted to host an event filled with such enthusiasm for the road ahead.
As new paths are carved by producers who are increasingly able to entice global customers with appealing Colombian-grown products, we’re excited to be involved in this journey and look forward to new opportunities to support Colombia’s potential as a leading fresh produce trade partner with the UK.