In the latest report from the National Department of Statistics (DANE, as per its Spanish acronym), the general GDP grew 1.1% in the first quarter of the year. In the same period, the agricultural sector grew 6.8%, a level of growth that hadn’t occurred since 2015. This figure is mainly explained by the increase in fishing and aquaculture (+31.5%), agricultural crops (+8.6 %), livestock (+7.1%), and forestry and wood extraction (+2.6%).
Furthermore, according to the Central Bank’s most recent figures (end of 2019), the agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing sector reached US $361 million in Foreign Direct Investment projects, 79% more than in 2018.
In addition, during the first quarter of 2020, Colombian agri-food exports totaled US $1.982 billion, with a 4% increase (+ US $70 million) compared to the same period in 2019; this figure stands out given the 9% decrease in general exports. Within this sector, bananas (+ US $35 million) and cattle (+ US $33 million) were the most outstanding.
The above figures are a reflection of a solid sector in Colombia, which, due to its importance, has continued to operate during the current circumstances due to COVID-19. In fact, it may be one of the least affected sectors, according to international trends.
Although products marketed by the HORECA channel should expect a significant contraction during periods of mandatory isolation, products marketed by the retail channel have shown positive trends.
Additionally, according to Euromonitor, food and non-alcoholic beverages will be the only spending category to see growth in 2020. As such, the most successful companies will be those that adopt a “new normal,” which includes building online relationships with their consumers, activating e-commerce and cashless payments, creating value, and focusing on the hygiene, health, and well-being of both consumers and employees.