Empowering Peruvian Mango Exporter to be Export Ready for the Canadian Market

Asociacion Agroecologica Tambogrande (AGROTAM) a small organic mangoes producers association in Tambo Grande of the Piura region of Peru made up of five associations with over 200 growers covering 350 hectares of organic mangoes orchards needed help in accessing the Canadian market. That growing region may have a competitive advantage of earlier mango harvesting time but the growers did not have the North American export market knowledge for their product. To alleviate this lack of knowledge in the spring of 2011 TFO Canada in partnership with then CIDA and OAS kicked off its Market Access for Organic Mango project with the creation and release of a Canadian Market for Mango report created by TFO Canada’s Associate Charles Beresford, an expert in the fresh produce market.

To avoid future financial losses in the international market and to understand market access requirements this report provided the association with explicit information on the Canadian market and customs information for mangoes. The project activities included a market research paper on the Canadian mango market, export-readiness requirements training, a market entry strategy and recruitment of three buyers to participate in a buyer’s trade Mission, and was completed with a report on the project including activities, outcomes and future support projects.

In the summer of 2011, the growers participated in a four-day training program on opportunities and requirements for exporting organic mangoes to Canada delivered by TFO Canada’s Lidia Karamaoun and Charles Beresford. The workshop topics included Canadian market access, product adaptation, technical requirements for compliance, the Canadian consumer and other export readiness topics.

Following an evaluation of the growers’ orchards and packing plants by Charles Beresford in the months of June and July, an Export Strategy Plan with a number of specific technical and commercial recommendations for market entry was submitted to AGROTAM. An outcome of this strategic plan was the establishment of a contract between Lider Export SAC of Peru, a commercialization and logistic expert, and AGROTRAM. As part of its deliverables Lider Export, in collaboration with Canadian importers, provided AGROTRAM with a Canadian market entry specifications for Organic Mangoes.

As the growers work to ensure they meet these Canadian market requirements, two previously uncertified clusters became certified organic and an importer/buyers mission from Canada occurred in September/October 2011. This buyer’s mission included a visit to Expoalimentaria Trade Show in Lima Peru where AGROTRAM participated successfully with Lider Exports at booth 159. The buyers then headed to Piura to visit the growers’ orchards and processing and packing plants along with Lider Export’s logistics infrastructure. The buyers mission resulted in the establishment of a supplier-importer relationship with La Huerta Imports of Canada and the shipment of 12 containers of organic mangoes sold at the conventional prices to gain market share. These shipments were not without challenges, as Charles was able to detect early signs of stem rot in the final three shipments and was able to provide growers with remedies to control and avoid such plant disease in future harvests.

Today, APAPE with about 70 growers and about 60 hectares, and APAGRO with about 100 growers and 120 hectares, two groups from AGROTAM that continued to pursue the Canadian market after the project was completed in December 2011 and are now preparing for the 2015-16 season as their 2014-15 mango crops have already been sold out. To date they have promoted their products at two trade shows, one in Canada and the other in Lima Peru, and sold over 55 containers their mangoes in both the North American and European markets. This is a result of their seeking additional technical support to improve product quality and increase orchard yields but also seeking financial support for operations in order to continue their commitment in strengthening present export markets and pursuing new ones.