COLOMBIA: Pineapple company ventures into exports, processing



A Colombian pineapple company that has only just begun exports is expanding into the processing business, amid plans to strengthen its position in international markets and double production.


Bengala Agrícola is now adding various processed products to its mix, alongside its sales of fresh MD2 golden pineapples.


The company is also set to boost its planted hectarage from 800 to 1,500 next year.


During the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) buyer mission to the South American country, diversification manager Julián Rojas Villa said the processing side of the business would use fruit that did not meet international standards, but still had good sensory characteristics.


He said that by processing pineapples the company could increase returns compared to if they had sold the fruit in its fresh form.


Bengala Agrícola has been carrying out laboratory tests on its new products since February 2014, and is now fine tuning the last details for the launch into national and international markets.


“For example we have pineapple pulp…which is like a concentrated pineapple juice, rich in fibres and very viscous,” he told


“Our idea is for this pulp to be an input for the processing industry, for the production of things like jams and jellies, and for us to become the largest supplier of pineapple pulp in Colombia.”


With the pineapple pulp, Bengala Agrícola has developed a range of its own products, including salsas with both traditional and spicy taste.


The company is also trialing mango production and is hoping to add it to its processed offering in the near future.


“We have some small plantations and in March we will have the first harvests, so it is therefore important to develop processed products that work with both fruits,” Villa said.


The company currently has 18 hectares of mango production, but only three will be harvested next year.


“Our idea is to create 100 hectares for mangoes, and we are also planning an area of around 500-1000 hectares to produce Hass avocados, due to the growth in consumption in the global market,” he said.


Some trial shipments of pineapple have already been sent to Europe, and the company is planning its launch in the U.S. market at the upcoming Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit in Orlando.


Bengala Agrícola sales and marketing manager Mauricio López said that so far this season 300 containers of fresh pineapples have been shipped. Around 500 are expected to be shipped during the campaign, of which half will go to Europe and 100 to the U.S.


Next year the company is expecting production of 25,000 metric tons (MT) and a doubling of its container volumes to 1,000. Currently half of production is exported, but next year the percentage is set to grow to 70%.


Source: Fresh fruit Portal

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