Westfalia Fruit Colombia will have the largest Hass avocado processing plant in the country
Over 200 people were present at the inauguration of the largest fresh Hass avocado processing plant in Colombia. An event that was attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrés Valencia; the Governor of Antioquia, Luis Pérez Gutiérrez; the Mayor of Sonsón, Obed de Jesús Zuluaga; the Ambassador for New Zealand, Lucy Duncan, along with executives, civil servants and members of the business group.
As indicated by Pedro Aguilar-Niño, the general manager of Westfalia Fruit Colombia: “this inauguration is very important for Colombia’s Hass avocado export industry. Not only does it reflect the increase in investment confidence in Colombia by a world-class company, it will also be the most modern plant with the greatest capacity in the country. It involves a real commitment towards the development of the region, a town that today has become a true production and export Cluster for Hass avocados. For Westfalia, the work developed with the town’s community has been fundamental for the increase in its current investment. The machinery that we have incorporated is from the New Zealand company Compac, which forms part of TOMRA Food, a true leader that offers state-of-the-art technology for fruit sorting. Using this, we are going to make a positive contribution to the transformation and progress which is successfully occurring in the sector.”
Committed to Colombia
Westfalia Fruit Colombia started its operations in the country in 2012. Its main activity is focused on the production, packaging and sale of Hass avocados for export. Over these 6 years of operation, it has exported over 800 containers to different international destinations such as: England, the Netherlands, France, USA, Spain, Canada, Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia. This has made it into the leading Hass avocado export company in Colombia. The company has its own production orchards (300 hectares in high density seeding), a nursery for clonal vegetable material production and two packaging plants located in the Antioquia region. Furthermore, it markets the fruit from over 140 producers from all over the country and gives technical support in land registration at the ICA, harvesting and post-harvesting of the fruit and in international certification processes, which are required by the market.
Today, the Sonsón plant is the largest and most advanced sorting and packaging facility in Colombia, and Westfalia Fruit intends to use it to triple its installed capacity.
Compac, a New Zealand company that forms part of TOMRA Food, has been responsible for supplying the latest MLS and Inspectra2 technology to Westfalia, through Sienz, its distributor in Latin American and Agrosermaq, its agent in Colombia.
This technology allows Westfalia to offer a uniform product, achieve customer satisfaction, reduce produce waste and increase its profitability.
Sonsón, a plant with state-of-the-art technology
The new Sonsón plant had several requirements to be met: ensuring the quality of its produce; optimising the sorting accuracy of the produce, in addition to being able to meet the process capacity requirements and post-harvest treatments. Along with all this, Westfalia also required a quality after sales service,” Jacinto Trigo, regional manager for Latina America at Compac, affirmed, “an element that Compac can offer in this country.”
The new plant, which was launched on the 14th of December, 2018, is fitted with MLS, Compac’s Multiline calibrators, (laid out in 5 lines with processing capacity of 25 tonnes/hour) and with Inspectra2, which, thanks to its NIR technology (Near Infrared Inspection), allows the internal characteristics of each of the processed avocados to be determined.
Therefore, using the MLS system, Westfalia obtains the necessary product rotation that allows the subsequent inspection by Inspectra2. The main advantage of this is its capacity to sort the avocados by dry material, an indicator of their ripeness. This allows Westfalia to standardise the fruit in each packed box and consequently to offer the option for only the top-quality fruit to reach the end consumer.
Compac’s latest technology allows avocados to be sorted in terms of dry material in order to optimise ripening and the packing times in the supply chain. This guarantees that suitable produce reaches the consumers at the right moment. Inspectra2 also manages to reduce the produce waste as, ultimately, it separates the optimum fruit from flawed produce.
As Pedro Aguilar-Niño, General Manager of Westfalia Fruit Colombia SAS, concluded, “the technological advances introduced here in Sansón are going to allow us to ensure the quality and traceability of our produce, as demanded by the market, in this way contributing to Colombia’s medium-term consolidation as the fourth supplier in the world ranking of Hass avocados.”
Compac will use Westfalia as a platform to improve its Inspectra2 technology even more for avocados. The results will be presented in a technical article at the 9th Word Avocado Congress, which will be held from the 24th to the 26th of September, 2019 in Medellín, of which Compac is a Gold Sponsor.
The Colombian Hass avocado
Given its geographical location, Colombia has the ideal conditions to become consolidated as the fourth avocado supplier in the world ranking, after Mexico, Peru and Chile.