Agricultural products from the Colombian Caribbean - such as palm oil, bananas, coffee and avocados - form an important part of the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and Colombia. The Netherlands (and the European Union) is one of the main destination markets for these and other Colombian agricultural products. Many of these products that connect the Dutch (and European) market with Colombia are either grown in the Caribbean or exported through the Caribbean ports of Santa Marta, Barranquilla and Cartagena. Agro-logistics is a field where the Netherlands is strong in terms of know-how, technology and innovations; and can play a positive role in the definitions of agro-logistic value chains that will enable the reduction of food losses and improvement of food trade by better connecting farmers with the national and international market. The project addresses the needs and challenges of agro-logistics in the Caribbean region of Colombia and the opportunities to engage with the Dutch private sector and knowledge or innovation centres.
With more than 80% of its population already living in urban areas, Colombia needs to feed its ever-growing cities. This is partly explained by the increasing purchase power of the middle class living in the Colombian cities, which translates into preferences for more sustainably produced food. Equally important is the inclusive growth of the (often small) producers in the rural areas around these megacities, who play a key role in local food supply. There is a need to improve productivity and quality of agricultural products. Moreover, in order to reduce the estimated 34% of food that is lost and/or wasted in Colombia (of which 62% are fruits and vegetables), there is a need for better connecting farmers with the market and introducing better postharvest technologies and agro-logistics. The main root cause of food loss and waste is caused by the lack of an efficient connection between rural and urban areas; in which agro-logistics has a key role.
The study conducted aimed to analyse and present the current situation and bottlenecks of the agro-logistics sector in the five Caribbean departments of Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, La Guajira and Magdalena, as well as to identify business opportunities for (Dutch) investors that could help solve them. The results are presented through a report on the state of affairs, a short document presenting 6 business cases and an infographic, available for download.
Specifically, the business cases identified are (1) mango processing, (2) organic cashew production and processing, (3) solutions for increased efficiency in small scale productions, (4) organic waste transformation, (5) tertiary roads improvements and (6) Roadmap towards integrated transport and logistics between Colombia and Dutch Caribbean.
Published: January 30, 2023
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