mangoes are the main product of Panama Organics, which also produces and
exports Hass avocados, yellow passion fruit and Persian limes. It exports to
and, for value-added processes, the company has its sights set on United States Europe,
after experience acquired over four generations.
One of the motivations for this is the increased demand for exotic fruits and healthy organic products in European countries, a result of the growing popularity of healthy eating in the continent. Furthermore,
is a very strict market when it comes to waste, and organic and sustainability
certifications, which, according to Winstead, are consistent with the
philosophy of the company.
Panama Organics is setting up 2,000 hectares for the production of organic mangoes (mainly Lady Victoria) in the province of Cocle, Panama, with an estimated yield of 30 tonnes per hectare, i.e., a total of 60,000 tonnes, of which the company sells as much as possible in the domestic market (which is not very large) and exports the rest. Its season runs from May to July, more or less at the same time as those of
although the exporter does not believe they will be competing with other
countries, as their variety does not exist anywhere else. "It is rather a
niche market. Mexico
grow other varieties," he argues. Peru
This year, the season will be extended as a result of El Niño. While the impact of this weather phenomenon tends to be negative, this year it seems to have been beneficial for Panama Organics. "For other countries, El Niño has resulted in many rains; in
the effect has been the opposite: we've have drought," explains the
producer. The company is prepared for this, since it has access to many water
resources, including groundwater wells and artificial lakes, so the drought has
not harmed it, but actually lowered the relative humidity and removed all types
of fungi and nematodes. "El Niño has extended our summer season by almost
two months, until September, which has been rather positive, because we were
prepared for it," he added. Panama
As for the Asian markets, the producer prefers to take things one step at a time and strengthen the European market first. "At Fruit Logistica, we met many interested parties from the
and other parts of Asia,"
he explains. "As more hectares planted with our variety become productive,
we will have greater volumes available for any market that is interested. Now
we want to be very cautious, because our philosophy is to promise little to
accomplish much," he admits, adding that they prefer to learn the
peculiarities of each market before rushing in headlong. "We do not expand
fast, but we do it properly."
The transit time of the company's mangoes from
to the Panama ,
one of the main gateways to port
of Rotterdam Europe,
is 14 days, half the time of most mangoes. For other countries, where it is
impossible to reduce transit times in this way, they make use of air freight.
Because of the high export standards, the best fruits are intended for the fresh market and the rest for processing; however, the mangoes require a delicate handling process. "If, during the harvest, a drop of sap falls on a mango, a stain remains and because of this you have to sacrifice a fruit that is perfectly suitable for the fresh market and sell it for processing," he adds. The company has its own facilities for processing. "We have quick freezing (IQF); we also produce pulps and purees and dehydrated mangoes," states Winstead. "It is our great industry and one of our biggest customers is the
through juice companies; a growing trend on a global scale," he concludes. United States