For 21 years, the Dorronsoro family started Del Alba, a company that, in addition to generating almost 90% of the macadamia production in Colombia, is also dedicated to the processing of all kinds of nuts. Agronegocios spoke with Jaime Dorronsoro, manager of this Valle del Cauca company, which already has 15 independent growers and a business model in which, through leasing, they deliver a macadamia crop in full production to those interested.
They offer a farm lease, how does it work and what opportunities does it generate?
Macadamia production begins in the fourth year and rises until it reaches equilibrium at year seven or eight. We have managed to pay a commercial lease that is adjusted every year with the CPI and at the end of the year 20 a farm is delivered in full production that will give for another 15 or 20 years.
What is the most suitable region to cultivate and where do you grow your crops?
It is the Coffee Region, and we have the crops in Quindío, located between 1,200 and 1,500 meters high. This is what was previously called a ‘coffee zone’, which is no longer so. Now it is a marginal coffee zone. We are trying to captivate her for macadamia cultivation.
How many hectares are planted in Colombia and how much is the production?
The country has about 1,000 hectares. Of these there are only 300 in production. We are talking about a production close to 800 tons of walnut in shell.
Why is it still a small crop in the country?
It is a crop that can grow a lot, but it takes time and a high investment must be made at the beginning. There are no development loans with soft interest. There is only the Rural Capitalization Incentive (ICR), which is not attractive because the cost of capital is very high.
How much should be invested to start?
About $ 14 million per hectare. To take it from sowing to production. In year seven, all the investment is made. Thereafter the plant produces about 40 or 50 years.
What growth opportunities do you see for macadamia?
I see many possibilities, not only in national consumption, but in export, because the world supply is insufficient. In Europe alone, consumption has doubled in 20 years. In addition, macadamia ice cream is the second most sold in Colombia and we prepare the nut caramelized with which this product is made.
How are the prices on the market?
Macadamia in Colombian supermarkets is much cheaper than in the United States or Europe. That is an advantage, the prices are very attractive to consumers.