A Nov. 2 ceremony held at the Port of Cartagena celebrated the closing of the container packed with Colombian avocados destined for the US market. Dignitaries seated at the main table, from left: Yerly Vallejo, grower of the avocados; Juan Zuluaga, the Colombian Minister of Agriculture; Humberto Martinez, General Manager of ICA; and Pedro Aguilar, General Manager of Westsole Fruit Colombia.
Westfalia Fruit’s North American operation in Camarillo, Calif., will receive the first hass avocado shipments from Colombia.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved imports of Colombian hass avocados in August.
The fruit will be shipped Nov. 2 on a container ship from the Port at Cartagena to Long Beach Port in California, according to a news release.
Westsole Fruit Colombia, co-owned by multinational avocado supplier Westfalia Fruit and its Chilean partner, Exportadora Subsole, exports avocados from Colombia, according to the release.
Westsole Fruit began exporting Colombian hass avocados to Europe in 2012, and during the 2016-17 season shipped about 1 million cartons to Europe. The firm’s packinghouse in Guarne, Antioquia, handles its own fruit and fruit from about 100 other growers, according to the release.
“We managed to overcome the teething issues involved in getting GlobalGAP in place, and working out effective management programs tailored to our unique Colombian conditions,” Westsole general manager Pedro Aguilar said in the release.
A commitment to social and environmental sustainability is key to the operation’s business strategy, he said in the release.
When it arrives in the U.S., California-based Westfalia Fruit USA will market the Colombian hass to a local retail customer, according to the release.