This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/1/2017
Colombia’s agricultural output grew 0.5 percent in 2016, below the country’s total annual economic growth rate of two percent. Businesses dealing with livestock performed particularly well, with poultry farms growing at a rate of 3.8 percent and egg harvesters at 6.6 percent, according to the country’s statistics agency DANE. The swine business grew 10.4 percent during the same period.

The agricultural sector is expected to grow one percent in 2017 and growth is projected to be driven mainly by poultry (estimated growth of 5.2 percent), eggs (estimated growth of five percent) and swine (estimated growth of three percent).
The Government of Colombia offers subsidies to import new agricultural equipment. Although Colombia does not ban the import of used agricultural equipment, there is a general preference for new agricultural equipment due to subsidies and performance issues with used equipment.

Most used agricultural equipment originating from the U.S. comes with technologies such as GPS, air conditioning, hydraulic steering, and other features that make this equipment relatively expensive for the Colombian market. Colombia’s larger growers usually prefer to buy new agricultural equipment without state-of-the-art gadgets because the prices are comparatively lower.

Although farmers appreciate the added value of higher-quality fertilizer products, they are typically unable to buy them because the low returns in the Colombian agricultural market. Instead, many opt for the wide variety of fertilizers available in the local market that are relatively cheap. Urea is one such fertilizer and is popular because it is widely available and often produced locally or imported at low prices. 

Fertilizer generally needs to comply with ICA (Colombian Agricultural Institute) requirements in order to be imported into Colombia. This process may take up to 3 years and cost USD 5,000 – USD 8,000 per product; registration must be done by a Colombian company, which results in them “owning” the registration.

Colombia’s total imports of urea fertilizer decreased in 2016 to USD 119 million, a 34 percent annual decrease over 2015. Of this total, 50 percent of imports (USD 60 million) came from Venezuela, followed by China at 24 percent (USD 29 million), and Trinidad and Tobago at 10 percent (USD 12 million). U.S. exports made up less than one percent of Colombia’s total imports of urea fertilizer in 2016.
Colombia Urea Fertilizer Imports by Country, 2014
CountryUrea Fertilizer Imports (USD)
China$75 million
Russia$28 million
Trinidad and Tobago$20 million
Venezuela$68 million
Other Countries$40 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service-Bogotá with Global Trade Atlas data
Colombia Urea Fertilizer Imports by Country, 2015
CountryUrea Fertilizer Imports (USD)
China$73 million
Russia$30 million
Trinidad and Tobago$12 million
Venezuela$48 million
Other Countries$46 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service-Bogotá with Global Trade Atlas data
Colombia Urea Fertilizer Imports by Country, 2016
CountryUrea Fertilizer Imports (USD)
China29 million
Russia11 million
Trinidad and Tobago12 million
Venezuela60 million
Other Countries17 million
Source: U.S. Commercial Service-Bogotá with Global Trade Atlas data

The decreasing trend in imports of fertilizer can be explained by a weaker Colombian currency and an increase in local production.

Leading Sub-Sectors
According to figures from National Federation of Poultry Farmers of Colombia (FENAVI) and the Colombian Pork Producers Association (PorkColombia), poultry, eggs and swine show an increasing trend in 2017, both in terms of domestic production and imports. 

U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia of meat products and grains have been performing particularly well over the last several years. Exports of frozen pork, poultry, and beef have seen strong growth, as have dairy products and beans (especially lentils). In addition, United States exports of live animals to Colombia were up in 2016, and were mainly for reproductive applications. Best prospects for agriculture exports to Colombia encompass machinery and equipment for Colombia’s growing domestic production of poultry, eggs, and pork. 

In October 2015, the government launched the program “Colombia Siembra” to encourage the production of food staples. Colombia Siembra involves an investment of USD 500 million through 2018 and aims to boost agricultural growth by 6.2 percent. Colombia Siembra will address productivity and competitiveness of this sector by investing in machinery, irrigation, and technology.

After the peace accord was ratified in October 2016 between the government and the FARC guerrillas, the agricultural sector could be one of the biggest beneficiaries since rural development has been identified as one of the government’s priority sectors in the post-accord era. Many of the demobilized combatants will migrate to cities in search of employment opportunities, but the government wants to make jobs available in the countryside and remote areas where the FARC have been living and operating for decades.

Trade Events
Agro-industry and livestock exhibition that takes place in Bogotá, Colombia, every two years in the month of July. For more information please see Coferia’s website.

Expo Agrofuturo
Knowledge and business trade show for the agricultural sector in Colombia. The format of the event and the profile of the exhibitors and assistants have transformed Expo Agrofuturo into the most effective marketing tool to promote products, land use and investment in the agricultural sector, it takes place every year on September.

Palmex Latin America
The only specialized Palm Oil exhibition in Latin America that brings together an international congregation of both upstream and downstream palm oil companies and supporting industries. Attendees gather in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia to showcase the latest developments in the palm oil industry.

Sugarex Colombia
Sugar expo and conference held once every two years. It is Colombia’s largest specialized sugar and bioethanol technology event that brings together an international congregation of sugar companies and supporting industries. Attendees gather in the heart of the sugar industry in Cali, Colombia to showcase the latest developments in the Colombian sugar and ethanol industries.

Web Resources
U.S. Commercial Service Bogotá contact: Rafael Jiménez, Commercial Specialist
Phone: 571-275-2814

Key Contacts
Colombia Statistics Bureau (DANE)
Colombian Pork Producers Association (PorkColombia)
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural (MADR)
Ministry of Agriculture website (Agronet)
National Federation of Poultry Farmers of Colombia (FENAVI)

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Colombia Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion