( Courtesy Westfalia Fruit )

South African fruit company Westfalia Fruit’s Colombia division has a new avocado processing facility in Sonson, Antioquia, Colombia.

The plant features Compac packinghouse equipment.

A Jan. 18 grand opening brought national and local authorities, including Colombia’s minister of agriculture, the governor of Antioquia and local officials, according to a news release.

The facility extends Westfalia’s hass avocado exporting capacity, a commodity the company first exported in 2012. The company’s Colombia hass export sales grew from $10.3 million in 2015 to $52.9 million in 2017, according to the release. Markets include the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S.

Colombia’s total exports so far this season are just 130,000 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pedro Aguilar-Niño, general manager of Westfalia Fruit Colombia, said in the release that the plant signals an advance in the country’s ability to pack and ship avocados.

 “This inauguration is an event of great significance for Colombia’s hass avocado export industry,” he said in the release. “Such an investment on the part of a global company is a sign of great confidence in this country.”

Westfalia expects to triple production with the new plant, one of three company facilities in Antioquia.

The packinghouse has a five-lane Compac Multi Lane Sorter, which can process about  27,500 tons an hour.