Finding agri-business opportunities in new markets

Finding value in Colombia

By Edwin Reyes

To diversify or not to diversify: in these challenging times, it is a valuable question to consider. Do you choose to stay in your lane and put all your effort into those areas that you know well? Or do you attempt to reap the benefits of entering new markets?

If you’re in the agri-food industry, then you should be paying greater attention to the latter. It’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone, become confident business developers and diversify your market access.

There is no better time to do so! We’ve been presented with an opportunity to adopt new levels of presence and to explore new regions. They all have something different to offer and it those who recognise and embrace this who’ll win the retail race.

To help you along this journey of diversification, we’ve decided to drop a pin on some of the countries across the world and evaluate the opportunities available and obstacles to overcome.

Let’s look at Colombia

As a Colombian who has resided outside my country for 8 years, I’ve found great pleasure in reconnecting with the sector and offering insight into the region and how to do business there.

The Colombian countryside presents many conditions to become an agricultural powerhouse in Latin America. Covering 114 million hectares, it is the fifth-largest country in this region. Of this land, 40 million hectares make up the national agricultural frontier and 8 million of those are cultivated. Team this up with the tropical climatic conditions that make the production of a rich variety of foods possible, and it’s clear to see that the agricultural potential is wide.

Taking a deeper look at its potential

We must recognise that Colombia still has several difficulties to overcome, including the concentration of land ownership and politics focusing on the extractivism of minerals; how it is only beneficial to few and has major environmental impacts, resulting in limited development.

It’s hard to ignore, however, the positive transformation in mindset and a drive amongst the younger generation for change. In the last few years, there has been a notable interest in the sector to improve socioeconomic conditions in the rural sector and productivity in Colombian agriculture that has been stagnant for so long yet, has so much potential. 

Not forgetting that there is also a certain drive towards centralising these changes and production processes around the need to respect the environment.

It’s about technology

When it comes to adopting new technology, we’ve seen some positive developments too. Greater adoption has allowed processes to become more efficient and presented a more effective way to use natural resources.

We must evaluate the impact innovative tech could have on the rural sector in Colombia though. Different technology can make processes more effective, but in turn, will lessen the need for manual labour. A reduction in employment could have a severely negative socioeconomic impact within the rural communities.

The good news is that this is being recognised, and great effort is being encouraged to accompany the adoption of new technology with a proper institutional evaluation of its impact on the agrarian sector.

Make a plan and do your research

You can see that there are great opportunities for change on Colombia’s horizon. Yes, the country still has some obstacles to overcome and practices to refine, but it’s an exciting time to be part of its offering.

Remember: to make the most of its potential then market research is crucial. Before embarking on your Colombian journey, make sure you understand where you’ll fit in and what problem it can help to solve. Listen to a lot of people on the ground, be flexible and look beyond the obvious. 

It’s a journey that you shouldn’t take lightly, but one that can offer great potential and opportunity.

If you’d like to learn more about Colombia and accessing this market, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can provide insight, guidance and advice to help you along the journey.

We’ll be delving deep into other countries across the world, evaluating the opportunities on offer and obstacles to overcome. Keep an eye out for our analysis on the Promar blog page.