Guatemala: How to Reactivate Agroexports

The high logistic costs and the appreciation of the Quetzal against the dollar are two of the factors which, according to exporters, have prevented better performance from being achieved in recent years.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

According to Agexport, exports of Guatemalan agricultural products in the last 6 years have registered very low growth, going from $2.96 billion in 2011 to $3.2 billion in 2016. In the same period, non-traditional agricultural products which registered a decrease were peeled sesame seeds (-14%), frozen peas (-6%), broccoli (-47%), frozen beans (-35%), tomatoes (-35% %), potatos (-48%), and mangos (-3%), among others.

High logistic costs and appreciation of the Quetzal against the dollar are two of the factors that have prevented, according to exporters, better performance from being achieved in recent years.

Nils Leporowski, president of the Chamber of Agro (Camagro), told that "... the countries that compete with Guatemala have devalued their currency, but on top of the lack of competitiveness in the exchange rate are the road routes where there are 280 mounds that mean that  transporting a product takes 14 hours." We have high transportation and logistics costs." 

Hugo Maúl, from the Center for National Economic Research (CIEN), opined that "... the Guatemalan exporting agricultural sector risks bottoming out if the "lethal" combination of appreciation of the exchange rate, increases in the minimum wage, tax and deterioration of the infrastructure conditions for productive production are maintained."

The exporters' association proposes implementing programs to promote agricultural production similar to those implemented in Mexico. In a press release by Agexport, Estuardo Castro commented: "'We are struck by the fact that Mexico has developed 8 programs with 41 components, among which are the promotion of agriculture, livestock, fishery and aquaculture productivity, food health and safety, productivity and agri-food competitiveness, marketing support, small producers and state strategic production. Likewise, they have a program to promote exports and investment where they have government support, a network of contacts, advice on intellectual property, among other things; This means that with similar political will and strategic alliances, similar programs can be implemented in Guatemala."

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More on this topic

Guatemala Exports More Fruits and Vegetables

August 2018

In the first semester of 2018, official figures show an increase of 15% in sales abroad of fruits and 23% in those of legumes and vegetables.

Data from Banco de Guatemala indicates that "... Sales of fresh, dried or frozen fruit reached US $197.6 million from January to June, US $26.1 million more than in the same period in 2017. Pulses reported US $114.9 million, US $21.1 million more than last year."

Growing Demand for Agricultural Products

August 2017

Avocado, cranberries, berries, mango, lime, lemons, yams, garlic, and pepper are some of the products with growing demand in markets such as the US. Russia, Taiwan and Singapore.

From a report by Agexport:

Avocado,cranberries, berries, mango, lime, lemons, yams, garlic, and pepper have high demand in some of the following areas: the United States, Canada, the UK, Russia, Taiwan, and Singapore among others. This is part of the results of a study carried out by AGEXPORT's agro-export sector in order to identify the new generation of exportable supply from Guatemala. 

Guatemala: Agricultural Exports Are Less Competitive

March 2017

Inefficient infrastructure and port logistics in the country is affecting the performance of exports of agricultural products such as frozen green beans, honey, fruits, tomatoes and sesame seeds, among others.

From a statement issued by Agexport:

Guatemalan Exporters Have New Strategy

August 2011

With the aim of increasing exports to Mexico and Central America's, Guatemala’s export sector has developed a new strategy.

Trade missions will focus on cities in southern Mexico (Merida and Cancun) and Central America (San Pedro Sula in Honduras, San Salvador in El Salvador and San Jose in Costa Rica).

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