In February, Ecuador sent its first shipment of organic pitahaya, free of chemical pesticides, to the United States. They were 240 kilograms that were taken to Los Angeles.
The Fito and Zoosanitary Regulation and Control Agency (Agrocalidad) certified that the fruit complied, from harvest to packaging, with the Operational Work Plan, signed with the Inspection Service for Animal and Plant Health (APHIS), homologous entity in the United States.
Es un orgullo informar que el día de hoy #Agrocalidad certificó el primer envío de Pitahaya Orgánica proveniente del Cantón Palora (Morona Santiago) con destino a Estados Unidos. #CertificamosCalidad #ProducciónOrgánica #ExportamosCalidad pic.twitter.com/Xtq0m00yCY— Agrocalidad (@AgrocalidadEC) 9 de febrero de 2019
According to Pro Ecuador, the opening of the US market for pitahaya occurred at the end of 2017; and the Central Bank of Ecuador shows that from October 2017 to October 2018, Ecuador exported $ 9.8 million for this fruit to the United States.
However, pitahaya has been exported to more than 41 destinations around the world for about four years, according to Roberto Robalino, president of the Producers and Marketing Association of Pitahaya and other Palora products.
The fruit reaches the 28 countries of the European Community, Canada, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Singapore and Uruguay.
Robalino explained that the pitahaya is a native plant of Palora, where there are more than 1,500 hectares (ha) and produce about 15,000 kg per hectare.
“Most of the production goes to Hong Kong and Singapore,” said the leader, who said that 138 producers make up the association and generate about 2,000 jobs.
He added that the producer sector has received support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock with the construction of collection centers and credit lines for $ 4.6 million.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), in Palora there are 672 producers who have planted 1,528 hectares, of which 664 are in production. In Pastaza, El Oro, Santa Elena and Cañar MAG also promotes cultivation.
Meanwhile, the producers hope that, with the help of the Government, new markets will open up, such as Brazil, Peru and China, because the current ones are saturated.
“We have the capacity to deliver the fruit, because it is not for mass consumption, it is a select product,” said Robalino, who added that up to April they will have 15 million kilograms. (I)