About TFO Canada
Honduran exporter wins big in Canada's demand for Asian vegetables
Ginger Export is an Honduran agro-exporter, specializing in Asian vegetables grown in the Central American country for export to the North American market. They work with over 300 small and medium size producers, located in 4 departments (provinces in the Canadian context) in Honduras: Olancho, Choluteca, Santa Barbara and Comayagua. Ginger Export owns two processing plants, located in Comayagua and Choluteca, where they process and package all produce for both the local market, and the export market. They export over 300 containers of produce, per year, to North American and Europe, which has had a tremendously positive impact on the rural communities in which they employ people, especially women, which make up 80% of their workers.
The first time we met Ginger Export’s president, Otto Lacayo, was in September of 2017, at the ExpoApen tradeshow in Managua, Nicaragua. Ginger Export had been selected, with 4 other companies from Honduras, and additional companies from El Salvador and Nicaragua, to participate and exhibit at the ExpoApen Tradeshow and meet one-on-one with Canadian Importers. TFO Canada had carefully selected a group of 10 Canadian importers to go on this sponsored trade mission and meet potential exporters from developing countries from whom to source.
Ginger Export met with 5 Canadian importers during the B2B meetings, thanks to the coordination between TFO Canada and our partner, Cámara de Comercio de Cortes de Honduras, represented by Vanesa Rodriguez, their international trade coordinator. Otto knew Ginger Export had a good chance with Canadian importers, as the only Asian vegetables exporter from Honduras at the meetings. And indeed, one importer placed an order right on the spot!
At first, Ginger Export sent just one container, to test the market, but the product tested very well in Toronto, where the importer is based, and they received more orders. Since that first order in September 2017 and up to February 2018 Ginger Export has shipped 7 containers, all distributed to the Greater Toronto Area market, to supply both supermarkets and smaller ethnic stores. [One container is 20 pallets, which contains 40,000 lbs of product].
In Canada, the market for Asian vegetables has been experiencing a rapid growth, thanks in part to the increased consumptions of ethnic foods by Canadians. Canadians experience ethnic foods either in restaurants or grocery stores, where ethnic produce offering has been growing in recent years. For example, in 2017 Canada imported over $308 million worth of eggplants, okras, squash, gourds and other Asian vegetables, an increase of 8% from 2016, and of 34% since 2013 . Canadians are eating more and more ethnic foods, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
While it has been challenging to find a best route to ship to Canada, as indicated by Otto Lacayo, Ginger Export’s president, they will continue exporting to Canada and expect only to expand their work with TFO Canada, since our help has ‘let them focus on working with the small and medium size producers, because their success is Ginger Export’s success, and that lets them bring more jobs to the rural areas of Honduras, and improve in that way the overall economy of Honduras’. So far, thanks to the work with the Canadian importer, and their exports to Canada, Ginger Export has been able to add an additional 20 producers to their supplier chain.