Colombian agroindustrial exports in expansion

Published on 22 September 2021

International sales of Colombian agro-industrial products have performed exceptionally well in the context of the post-quarantine recovery. Here we will review the figures.

Colombian agro-exports have shown exceptional growth in the first five months of 2021. The mix of the work of entrepreneurs to venture into new products or develop those that are in an incipient stage and even consolidated, together with the rebound in international demand after the Covid-19 pandemic, has allowed reaching high figures.

The most outstanding elements of the portfolio in this regard are avocados and Tahiti lime. Their exports only took off in 2017, when the new plantations began to bear fruit.

In parallel, a niche product such as powdered milk performed exceptionally well. In its case, the destinations differ from what has traditionally been observed, with Russia (63% of sales) and Venezuela (24% of sales), in contrast to the usual markets such as the United States and the European Union.

Star of the list
The following table, which shows the evolution of the most outstanding items in terms of growth in the value of sales abroad, shows how agricultural products stand out compared to the rest of the portfolio in terms of merchandise movement, except for sugar, which in any case recorded better sales prices and increased its export value.

The recovery may be generalized across all sectors, but agribusiness has been the most consistent. This is even more relevant considering that it was one of the few that had a good 2020 despite the negative shock in international demand.

  • The challenge: recovering from blockages

  • Unfortunately, not all of the potential has been realized due to force majeure. Road blockades have hindered the flow of goods and value generation has been reduced due to delays in some shipments. The Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that this was notorious in May, when the growth of Colombian agroindustrial exports was 11.8%, compared to 45% and 36% in March and April, respectively. Coffee and sugar were particularly affected, as can be seen in the variations in terms of weight (last column).

    However, progress in the opening of new markets such as Southeast Asia, Russia and the Middle East, in addition to consolidated emerging markets such as China or developed ones such as the United States, and the use of capital in highly competitive products have enabled us to overcome the setback. At the same time, it is expected that overcoming the pandemic will allow economic growth figures to attenuate social discontent by improving the labor market, thus consolidating further progress by lifting the obstacles that prevented the sector from performing to its full potential.

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