So as to win the European market with exotic ornamental pineapple, six floriculturists from the northeastern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte joined forces and created ABX – Ananas From Brazil.
The group, which is already negotiating with importers from Italy, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, intends to start exporting in May, when they will be producing around 5,000 flowers a week. Apart from Europe, they also plan to win other markets, like the Arab countries, starting next year.
"Contact with the importers took place mainly during sector fairs. We are starting with the European market, but next year we will be able to supply the demand of new markets," explained Antônio Carlos Prado, one of the founders of the group and currently owner of the largest plantation in the country.
The group of entrepreneurs’ research about the cultivation of ornamental pineapple, which is native to the northeast of Brazil and has an important commercial value on the domestic and foreign market, started in 2003.
"We needed a crop that adapted well to the sandy soil and strong sun. As this kind of pineapple grows in the sandy soil close to the ocean in the state of Ceará (in the northeast – the largest producer in the country), we decided that it would be the ideal product," explained Analys Berti, who purchased the first saplings at the same time as Prado did.
Since the beginning, the producers have been counting on the guidance of the Rio Grande do Norte state branch of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and of the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company (Emater). The implementation phase was executed with 100% own capital.
The product also attracted the attention of administrator Elizabeth Maier, who was seeking an investment opportunity. "I was initially interested in the cultivation of tropical flowers in general. Only after much observation and participation in fairs did I discover ornamental pineapple," explained Elizabeth.
She already knew other floriculturists and decided to participate in the group. In March 2005 she planted the first saplings at her property. The 9-hectare area, located in the city of Ceará Mirim, also includes a precocious dwarf cashew plantation.
It was during participation in a sector fair, in the state of Ceará, that the producers met another partner in the project: the Technological Support Program for Export (Progex), a federal government program established to stimulate Brazilian exports, especially by micro and small companies. The main point of the program is technological assistance to those who already export or who are on the way to export.
After sending a technician to learn about the group properties and evaluate the work that is already taking place, the Progex has started covering the cost of a consultant to help the farmers.
Each hectare of ornamental pineapple has between 80,000 and 100,000 saplings, depending on the variety. The most common are lucidus and porteanus, which present good perspectives in landscaping and in the production of flowers for cutting.
Anba – www.anba.com.br