Call for Proposals
USD 400.000
Counterpart Amount:
USD 896.349
Execution time
42 Months
Total Amount:
USD 1.296.349
Participating countries:
Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador Spain Spain Peru Peru
Funding source:
FONTAGRO Amount 31% Other agencies 0% Counterpart Amount 69%

Executive Summary

The project “Andean fruit productivity and competitiveness” (2017-2021) was a technical cooperation that sought to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the avocado, passion flower and citrus fruit chains in Colombia (Caldas, Risaralda and Cauca Antioqueño), Ecuador ( Imbabura, Pichincha and Manabí) and Peru (Piura). Researchers from these three Andean countries and from Spain participated.

The technological solutions proposed by the project apply to fruit production systems, post-harvest and integral transformation of fruits and crop biomass, and the commercialization of fresh fruit and its derivatives. The use of fertigation reduced the consumption of water, fertilizers and the carbon footprint of the crops. Furthermore, it brought forward the first harvest between 6 months and a year, and increased the production per hectare of passion fruit and Hass avocado by 50% and 97%, respectively. In passion fruit 3 segregations of improved genetic material were obtained with high productivity in the field and good fruit quality. In transformation, 32 prototypes for adding value to fruit or its residues were developed, 3 of which reached the market, and 3 biorefineries for fruit and its waste were also designed.

The technological solution

The technologies that were most satisfactory for meeting the objectives of increasing the productivity and competitiveness of the avocado, passion fruit and citrus fruit chains are highlighted.

In fertigation farms it was shown that, with proper water management and the dosage of nutrients, this technique facilitates the vigor and health of seedlings that anticipate their first harvests were increased and, at their productive age, achieve considerable increases in fruit production per hectare. The measures that were made of water consumption and carbon footprint contrasted against conventional cultivation methods, evidenced the positive contribution of fertigation by increasing the efficiency in the use of resources and the intensification of sustainable fruiticulture.

During the post-harvest, durability or shelf life tests of fruits were carried out before and after the project actions. Preliminary results indicated that those fruits cultivated by fertigation or by other sustainable methods that involved, for example, the use of mycorrhizae to increase the absorption of nutrients, achieved slightly greater durability in storage, with higher average levels of commercial quality. The commercial quality of the fruit can be prolonged with the use of suitable packaging, according to tests in which comparative measurements were carried out during transport between cultivation farms and consumption centers.

32 prototypes were developed for the addition of value for both fresh non-commercial quality fruit and for the residues of fruit crops and those generated in some of their transformation processes such as stalks of passion fruit plantations, orange peels and avocado seeds. In addition to laboratory testing, prototypes were scaled up to pilot and field testing. At the end of the project, three of these products reached the market. Innovative technical contributions are also highlighted in the optimization of transformation stages and processes that were designed under a broad approach to sustainability including technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions, recognized by the academic community in technical events and specialized international high impact journals. At the same time, the project widely disseminated various artisanal fruit processing techniques for farmers, students and the general public.


In the fertigation tests carried out in Ecuador for both the Colombian variety granadilla seedlings and the Hass avocado, the high doses of nitrogen and potassium applied in the vegetative growth phase positively influenced the height of the plants, the index of greenery, area and concentration of foliar potassium. In the cultivation of granadilla, increases of 10 to 15 tons / ha-year were observed in its productive stage (after 3 years). In avocado, the first production was achieved at 2 years in contrast to the usual 3 years.

In Colombia, fertigation tests were carried out on a Hass avocado crop of productive age (4 and 5 years). A notable increase in productivity was observed (from 8.5 ton / ha-year through edaphic fertilization in 2018 to 16.8 Ton / Ha-year with fertigation in 2020). Following monitoring of residuals, adjustments were made to the withdrawal periods recommended on the labels of the pesticides commonly used in avocado. After applying these recommendations, fruit growers saw their batches rejected by the company reduced by 40%. Also, in the exports of the company in 2020 there were no rejections due to residual agrochemicals in the fruit. In passion fruit, INIAP-Ecuador researchers, through the use of microbial consortiums with mycorrhizae, managed to produce vigorous plants due to improved nutrient absorption. Three segregations of improved passion fruit genetic material were obtained, adaptable to different climatic and soil conditions, with high productivity in the field and good fruit quality.

Of the 32 prototypes of value-adding alternatives that were developed with different levels of technological innovation, most continued to pilot and field tests. Three reached production and commercialization at an industrial level: preservative-free juices of Mandarin, Orange and Lemon. Three studies of technical, economic and environmental impact of the use of biomass derived from fruit industrialization were carried out and 3 biorefineries of fruit and / or its residues were evaluated.

The above was transferred and disseminated among the actors of the fruit chains through 2 fairs, 3 symposia, 27 conferences, 3 webinars, 22 field days, and 1 diploma course. The academic products were 24 articles, 22 degree projects, 9 lectures, 9 book chapters, 24 theses and 1 book. In addition, different virtual products were generated, namely: 91 ecards and infographics, 69 videos and 1 webstory, which together have had 64,431 views (Sept / 21).


33 direct interventions were made to fruit growers' plots, which involved data collection, training, supervision and accompaniment to obtain certification in good agricultural practices, fruit quality monitoring and installation of a fertigation system. Of those 33 beneficiaries, 16 were women. There were 4,268 direct beneficiaries of training and transfer activities, of which 1,936 were women. Students linked to the project were also benefited to develop end-of-degree or thesis projects on project topics, namely: 15 undergraduate, 8 Sena apprentices, 7 master's and 5 doctoral students. Of those 35 students, 16 were women.

There were an estimated 64,431 indirect beneficiaries up to September 2021, including organic followers in social networks and those who accessed the events and / or training materials and virtual dissemination.

Sustainable Development Goals

Zero Hunger Clean water and sanitation Decent work and economic growth Responsible consumption and production Climate action Life on land

Main donors

Participating Organizations

  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) - Colombia
  • Frutierrez Latinamerican Perishables Inc. (FLP) - Colombia
  • Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) - Ecuador
  • AKIS - España
  • SENA - Colombia
  • Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP) - Ecuador
  • Frutierrez Latinamerican Perishables Inc. (FLP) - Perú
  • Frutierrez Latinamerican Perishables Inc. (FLP) - Ecuador

Graphics and data

Financing by country (in USD)
FONTAGRO Amount Other agencies Counterpart Amount

Geolocated Map

Publications and resources

With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)