Coconuts, Teak, and Cattle in the Colombian Tropics
Farmfolio's inaugural project, Pietrasanta is a diversified agricultural asset dedicated to the production of coconuts, teak logs, and cattle. Located 35 kilometers from Montería, Colombia, the property features 230 hectares of Malayan Dwarf Coconut palm trees, a teak plantation of 64 hectares, and an intensive grass-fed cattle operation. Originally one of three ranches that used to make up the region’s iconic farm “La Antioqueña," Pietrasanta is an historic property with a rich agricultural tradition. With plentiful water resources, rich soil, and an ideal proximity to major ports, the Pietrasanta property is an ideal location for agricultural development in Colombia.
The Malayan Dwarf Coconut Palm is one of the most resilient and productive varieties of palm tree on Earth. In this case, 'dwarf' does not refer to the size of the tree but rather the early stage at which the Malayan Dwarf can begin producing harvestable coconuts. Highly resistant to the devastating Lethal Yellowing plant disease, the Malayan Dwarf is one of the most popular varieties for export.
The basis of a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry, cattle are a critical part of the global food supply. Between beef, dairy, and hides, cattle have many profitable uses. The land on which our cattle graze has been used by ranchers for generations, and our cattle are raised using humane, sustainable practices.
Colombia’s Sinu River Valley is one of the best locations in the world to develop an agroforestry operation and grow high-quality, sustainable teak. By sourcing our hardwood locally, Burroteka’s sawmill enjoys a significant competitive advantage due to its lower transportation costs. Additionally, by sourcing regionally we are able to integrate our supply chain, while also fostering development in our beautiful country and contributing to the national economy.
Pietrsanata’s teak forest is comprised of 64 hectares of a teak-reforested area. This area is divided into two sections – 54 hectares of 15 year-old trees and 10 of 10 year-old trees. The average tree density per hectare is 300 trees for the 15 year-old forest and 800 in the 10 year-old forest. The forestry plan was initiated with 1000 trees on average per hectare.
One of the world’s most popular hardwoods, teak is a versatile, environmentally friendly tree that can absorb huge amounts of harmful CO2 from the atmosphere. Its high oil content and tensile strength make teak ideal for outdoor furniture, boat decking, flooring, and many other products. Demand for teak is powered by the growth of the middle class in emerging markets such as India and China.
In a world where black-market forestry runs rampant, the Pietrasanta team has instituted a comprehensive traceability system that allows buyers to make an informed decision about their purchases. Thanks to our system, buyers can verify that our teak is sustainably grown and legally harvested and distributed.
The Malayan Dwarf Coconut Palm is one of the most resilient and productive varieties of palm tree on Earth. In this case, ‘dwarf’ does not refer to the size of the tree but rather the early stage at which the Malayan Dwarf can begin producing harvestable coconuts. Our hybrid variety is highly resistant to the devastating Lethal Yellowing plant disease, the Malayan Dwarf is one of the most popular varieties for export.
As with many permanent crops, coconut trees have somewhat longer startup times until harvesting can begin. The advantage here is that although production takes longer to begin, trees can be continually harvested on an annual basis for many years to come. This makes our Malayan dwarf coconut palm trees an asset with high potential for appreciation.
At Pietrasanta, there are over 32,00 tree assets between the ages of 1-3 years of age. Flowering on mature trees has already begun, and trees are expected to start bearing fruit throughout 2020. Production maturity is expected to start on trees around 5 years of age, with projected yields of 100 -150 fruits per tree per annum.
The basis of a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry, cattle are a critical part of the global food supply. Between beef, dairy, and hides, cattle have many profitable uses. Of vital importance to the rural way of life for people in the region, our cattle are raised using humane, sustainable practices.
Cattle as an asset are vulnerable to depreciation. Cost of feed can be volatile, and reproductive efficiency varies greatly from year to year. In addition, other Latin American countries have dedicated a tremendous volume of resources to cattle production, lowing prices on global markets.
The old ‘El Balsal’ farm was primarily dedicated to ranching, and used to graze over 4,000 heads of cattle per annum, whereas today Pietrasanta herds around 300. Due to environmental and economic factors, the Pietrasanta team plans to phase out cattle operations in favor of the farms’s coconut operations, which are more sustainable and more profitable.
The Pietrasanta team has successfully constructed over 600,000 cubic meters of reservoirs and wells, 7 kilometers of three-line power, and 48 km of underground pipe networks. These systems are intended to increase growth rates, mitigate drought risk, and add value to Pietrasanta. Pietrasanta also employs high-end farm equipment on its operation, including trucks, tractors, saws, and electrical generators.
In addition to the beautiful main hacienda building, there are two worker houses, three temporary camps, and office space with high-speed internet access located on the Pietrasanta property. These structures allow Pietrasanta’s team to provide a comfortable living quarters as well as office space to workers, visitors, and key employees.
The coconut nursery at Pietrasanta is the first Malayan Dwarf Coconut nursery in the country of Colombia. Registered in 2017, the nursery has become the center for the development of coconut genetics. With a genetic program in place, the Pietrasanta is poised to become a solution for growers seeking international markets.