In addition to big-ticket agricultural products, such as beef, coffee, and cut flowers, Colombia is also an exporter of niche goods, like chocolate and honey. In fact, Colombia exports a variety of processed delicacies, such as chocolate covered roasted-coffee beans. Throughout the last several years, the country has exported more processed chocolate foodstuffs than raw cocoa beans.
During 2016, Colombia exported US$33.3 million worth of cocoa beans compared to US$72.7 million worth of chocolate. That year, the global trade of cocoa beans totaled US$10.2 billion, which means that Colombia represented 0.33% of international exports. Likewise, global exports of chocolate accounted for an aggregate of US$26.2 billion, which means that Colombia only represented 0.3% of the global chocolate trade. The main destination of Colombia’s cocoa bean exports are western European countries, known for their chocolate production. For instance, in 2016, the main importer of Colombian cocoa beans was Spain, accounting for 21% or US$7 million of international sales, as well as Belgium and Luxembourg, which together totaled 17% or US$5.7 million. Meanwhile, as it relates to chocolate exports, the country’s main export market in 2016 was Venezuela, representing 39% or US$28.3 million of Colombia’s international chocolate sales. However, it is unlikely that Venezuela will register as one of Colombia’s main chocolate buyers from 2017 onwards given the ongoing crisis in the country. Other important importers of Colombian chocolate are the United States, which purchased 20% or US$14.3 million of the South American country’s exports in 2016, and Ecuador, totaling 11% or US$8.3 million.
Honey and Chocolate in Colombia and Farmfolio
Another niche product that Colombian agribusiness produces domestically and exports in small quantities is honey. During 2016, Colombia exported US$17,100 worth of honey: US$11,000 to the United States and US$5,000 to Aruba. Obviously, this amount represents a small amount in relation to the global honey trade, which accounted for US$2 billion in 2016. Nevertheless, the artisanal production of natural honey has great potential along Colombia’s coastal regions. Thus, Farmfolio’s Ganaderia Pietrasanta (GP) recently launched a pilot project to harvest and produce honey by establishing bee hives throughout the farm, particularly the teak forest area. Though only a few weeks old, GP’s honey production initiative is already yielding positive results both for the farm ecosystem and for the diversification of its productive activities. This initiative at GP not only boosts the farm’s status as an operation committed to organic and agroforestry techniques, but also turns the terrain into a sanctuary for otherwise endangered honey bees.
Farmfolio’s presence in northern Colombia by way of Ganaderia Pietrasanta (GP) is actively transforming the regional agricultural and economic landscape. Not only have the strategic crops introduction and capital injection increased the agricultural yield of the farm and also multiplied the amount of jobs in the region, but they are also increasing food security and nutritional diversity throughout the community.