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The first shipment of Costa Rica's pineapples to China set sail on Friday from the Pacific port of Caldera for Shanghai, as part of the Latin American country's initial efforts to explore the Chinese tropical fruit market.
"This marks a milestone in national exports and a great opportunity for Costa Rica," said Pedro Beirute, general manager of Costa Rica's trade promotion agency Procomer.
Four different companies -- Upala Agricola, Productos Agropecuarios Visa, Pinales del Caribe and Agricola Agromonte -- contributed to the shipment of nine containers with approximately 15,120 cases filled with pineapples. All of them have met the strict phytosanitary guidelines set by Chinese authorities.
"We congratulate these companies -- pioneers in the Chinese market -- and place Procomer's offices in China at their service and the service of the entire export sector, so they can continue to develop and expand their business," said Beirute.
Abel Chaves, president of Costa Rica's National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters, said the shipment marks the successful conclusion of a demanding phytosanitary verification process and of good agricultural practices.
Costa Rica, he stressed, is one of the world's leading exporters of tropical fruits.
"We are an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable business that generates 32,000 direct jobs in regions of the country where jobs are scarce," added Chaves.
Alfredo Volio, president of Upala Agricola -- one of the companies that ship pineapple -- said exporting to the Chinese market represented a logistical challenge, mainly due to the distance, but companies like his were up to the task.
"We are very satisfied to see this first shipment head out and we hope to see the rapid consolidation of Costa Rican pineapples, especially Upala Agricola's, in that important market," said Volio.
To promote its pineapple products in Asia, Costa Rica will attend the Asia Fruit Logistica and Asiafruit Congress to be held in China's Hong Kong in September.