Clean agriculture improves fruit crop quality
A group of 50 farmers of the Province of Caldas are part of a program entitled “Comprehensive use, value adding, and competitiveness of commercial Andean fruit platform model.”Manizales, 30 de marzo de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The initiative funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) focuses on five fruits from the Colombian coffee growing area: Andean raspberry, pear-guava, passion fruit, tree tomato and naranjilla.
This project headed by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Manizales hopes to improve the global quality of the fruits - both at the sensorial as in the sanitary aspect- in order to open new markets and increase exports.
The project which began in 2015 shows that the fruit sector in Colombia lacks quality in aspects such as phytosanitary control, price instability, and deficient support infrastructure, which result in low yields.
This makes small farmers offer low quality fruit and high amount of second and third grade harvests, turning into a great obstacle for product marketing.
“We want to build a sustainable innovation model for the Colombian Andean fruit chain and empower small farmers and the producer and transformer sector. In Colombia more than 85% of the production comes from small farmers,” said Institute of Agri-industry Research and Technology (IRTA, for its Spanish acronym) Researcher Gemma Echeverría.
The project has four stages which are: geographical crop identification, post-harvesting fruit quality preservation, consumption transformation and promotion and knowledge management and technological transference.
Regarding post-harvest fruit preservation they will test several preservation conditions and assess the effect of temperature in controlled conditions, such as controlling the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
“The whole program will be massified across the coffee growing area of Colombia through visits to extend knowledge which will be a helpful support for farmers of the Province of Caldas. La idea behind the project is that by means of conferences other regions may apply clean and sustainable agricultural practices,” said UNal Professor and Project Director Carlos Eduardo Orrego.
Colombia is the third country in Latin America in amount of hectares devoted to fruit production with a 10.5% participation and fifth producer of the region with 7.2% participation. The fruit farming industry is vitally important for the Colombian agricultural sector due to aspects such as crop land, yield, value, job creation and development perspectives.
Furthermore the project has the support of AKIS International and Frugy S.A., a local recently certified firm in organic crop management, crop area, yield and pest control practices.(Por: Fin/IJR/MLA/JAAH