Foreign sales of roots and tubers such as malanga and taro in the first quarter of 2012 grew from $1.8 million in the period from January to March 2011, to $2.3 million in the same period in 2012. In 2011 exports of root crops reached $8 million, up from the $7.4 million of 2010.
"This means that in this period we exported $500,000 more than the last year and we expect to see growth by the end of the year end of about 20 percent", said Roberto Arguello, coordinator of the Committee on Roots and Tubers of the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN) to Elnuevodiario.com.ni.
The potential to be reached is $40 or $50 million over four years, said Diego Vargas, president of the Commission of Roots and Tubers to Laprensa.com.ni.
70 percent of taro produced in the country is exported, and it is the same case with ginger. In the case of cassavas, it is 60 percent and 80 percent for taros, producers said.
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2011/09/23/activos/74394 (In Spanish).
Nicaraguan roots and tubers are now being packed in the country with export volumes increasing year on year, mainly going to the United States and Puerto Rico.
Of the $37 million traded in ExpoApen 2012, $14 million was related to sales of roots and tubers.
The same situation occurred in the latest edition of the Fresh Summit 2012 food fair, held in California, where the most sought after Nicaraguan products were malanga coco, malanga lila, and quiquisque.
The Honduran company Agrícola MC is looking for producers with growth potential in 2014 to increase the supply of taro to the United States.
At present there are 300 hectares planted with this kind of tuber. The Honduran company, Agrícola MC, supports farmers by giving them seeds and helping them with techniques such as irrigation systems, which are coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG).
Small producers have started exporting taro, cassava, quiquisque and ginger to the Caribbean island, which buys from Nicaragua some $45 million worth of products per year.
"We made a projection of sales to Puerto Rico of 9.3 million dollars per year and demand will be at least three containers a week," said Nazario Mejia, president of the cooperative Tierra Buena, New Segovia (north), which has already made the first shipment.
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