Panama’s fresh produce exports are on the rise

Over the past five years, this Central American country famous for its canal, has seen a steady increase in its exports of exotic and tropical fruits such as pineapples and melons. According to the Panamanian Export and Investment Promotion Authority (PROPANAMA), its second participation in the Madrid fair brought immediate results with pineapple exports to Italy.

1 ProPanama
Damaris Pianetta, from ProPanama and producer Victor Caballero, president of the Agricultural Production and Development Cooperative of Panama

The number of buyers increased by 40%. The week following the show, the company LV Farms notably sent pineapples to new markets such as Italy and concluded agreements with two customers met there. Other participating companies have also met potential customers and are discussing future contracts. PROPANAMA aims to help producers increase their overall exports and develop their activities. Panamanian dragon fruit growers presented this fruit in Madrid where they announced the start of exports in 2023.

This year, 15 participating Panamanian companies attended the show including: Agro Export Pacific, Potuga Fruit Company, Pink Lion, LV Farms, Gradum Advance Corp, Agropecuaria Riolindo, Inversiones JPW, Deshidratados E&A, Asociación Panameña de Productores de Pitahaya, Balboa Fruit Company ¸ Panafruit, Fruits and Pineapple Panama, Exportagro Panama, Tropical Fruit Company and Agrotropical Sostenible.

“Fruit Attraction represents an excellent opportunity for our exporting companies to present our high quality offer to buyers around the world and in particular to the European market”, said Carmen Gisela Vergara, General Administrator of PROPANAMA.

The ProPanama team with some of the producers. Front left to right: Damaris Pianetta, Yelsica Cabellero and General Secretary Carmen Gisela Vergara

Matchmaking activities and networking at fairs help achieve these goals. PROPANAMA also offers several tools for exporters on its website – such as links to statistical data, finding the best freight and trade maps – to guide them through the export process.

According to PROPANAMA’s export promotion department, Panama has exceptionally fertile soil and produces high quality fruits and vegetables for export to international markets. “This year at the fair, Panama exhibited a diversity of quality fruits, with extraordinary Brix and aromas. Also, the country has invested a lot in the agricultural industry, which makes a difference in agricultural practices,” said Yelsica Caballero, Head of Exports at PROPANAMA.

The government of Panama has invested heavily in the growth of the agricultural industry, which leads to a favorable business environment. Investments in infrastructure, such as irrigation and cold chain storage projects, as well as the law on agricultural parks, whose main pillars are market information, technology, innovation and tax incentives are an example. The revitalization of this sector leads to other complementary industrial opportunities, such as food processing and research.

The investments are reflected in export volumes over the past five years, with an increase of 46% for fresh bananas, 63.5% for watermelons and more than double for papayas. According to statistics provided by PROPANAMA, the country also started to record small export volumes of citrus fruits and coconuts during this period. The country exports to the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Panama not only allows ships to sail along the famous canal. It also aims to publicize its high quality exports in other markets around the world. And for this, PROPANAMA will participate with Panamanian exporters in other trade fairs in the future, in countries such as Germany, Spain, the United States and China, among others.

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Yelsica Caballero

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Panama’s fresh produce exports are on the rise

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