Colombia: "Our processing line sales doubled in just three years”
In 2020, Bercomex, a Dutch company specializing in flower processing, established Bercomex Americas in Bogota, Colombia. Over the years, they have experienced significant growth. Since its establishment, they have doubled the number of processing lines installed. Despite the current challenges that growers are facing, interest in their processing lines continues to grow. In this article, Piet Stroet, Bercomex's Sales Export Manager, shares insights about the Colombian market and the journey and expansion of Bercomex Americas.
From 30 to 60 processing lines
Bercomex has had its own presence in Bogota for nearly three years, and during this time, their sales have seen a remarkable increase. What's the key to this success? Stroet explains, "First and foremost, we tailor our products to meet the specific needs of the growers. The processing of flowers on a Colombian farm differs from that on a Dutch farm, for example. Therefore, we analyze farm-level processes before determining the best-suited machines or lines."According to Stroet, Bercomex Americas has played a significant role in this growth. "Being nearby is crucial. Farms in Colombia are quite extensive, with machines operating for many hours a day and even 24/7 during peak seasons. Regular maintenance and quick service in case of breakdowns are essential. We offer maintenance contracts and visit the farms at least three times a year. Our mechanics receive training in the Netherlands, enabling them to apply Dutch expertise on Colombian farms."
Colombian flower industry
How has the Colombian flower industry evolved in recent years? Stroet states, "It has experienced substantial growth, with significant volumes being shipped to North America. Demand surged, particularly during the Covid years. Although growth slowed afterward, volumes remain higher than in the pre-Covid era. Additionally, we've witnessed numerous takeovers and expansions. As costs have risen, growers have become more cautious. However, a stronger peso has provided some balance."
Interest in Automation
Given the rising costs, are growers still willing to invest in processing lines? According to Stroet, they are. "As costs increase, the need for greater efficiency rises, and automation offers a solution. Coupled with the extensive size of the farms and the substantial number of stems that need processing, automation not only reduces labor costs but also accelerates processes and ensures more consistent bunches. Due to the higher costs, growers may take a bit longer to make final decisions, but the interest remains strong. Therefore, we anticipate continued growth, albeit not at the same pace as in recent years, but there is still an upward trend."
Interested in meeting the Bercomex Americas team? They will be available at their booth during Proflora, scheduled from October 4-6 in Bogota.
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