Farm Update Finca Aguas Claras, Cunday, Colombia
The month of January and the first days of February were especially busy for the team of LatAm Prime and Grupo Gaitán Cuevas due to the high number of clients and prospects visiting the organic Aloe Vera plantations in Fusagasuga and Cunday. Earlier this week, a group of 14 people, including staff, clients, and business partners, started the farm tour from Hotel Madaura in Fusagasuga. The group departed early in the morning, heading to Finca Aguas Claras in Cunday, which is located about a 1.5-hour drive southwest of Fusa (about 3.5 hours from Bogota, depending on the traffic).
As mentioned previously, the general infrastructure with road system, water reservoirs, farm house, etc. is already in place but under constant expansion and improvement. The 30-men strong farm team is divided into two teams: one for clearing of the land, including rock removal and soil preparation; and one for the planting of the hijuelos (the baby Aloe Vera plants). The removal of stones and rocks on the virgin ground requires heavy manual work for now, but new machinery that will ease and speed up the process is already on its way to the farm. The farm team also keeps growing, and new workers join the company on a weekly basis. Experienced workers from the established plantation in Fusagasuga are moved to Cunday for several days each month to help with onboarding the new staff and training in best practices of organic Aloe Vera farming.
The Hijuelos are transported from the farm in Fusagasuga, where they are taken from the 100,000 mature Aloe plants, to Finca Aguas Claras in Cunday. The plantation in Fusagasuga is at a mature stage, and the company decided to use it over the next couple of years for the production of baby plants until Finca Aguas Claras is completely planted and the processing plant fully established. Cunday has a slightly hotter and dryer climate than Fusagasuga; therefore, it has the perfect conditions for the succulent Aloe Vera plants. Nevertheless, the change in climate puts a certain stress on the baby plants, so after arrival in Cunday, they need to rest and acclimatize in a shaded shed for a few days before they are ready to be planted. Even after planting, it takes a little bit of time for them to adapt to the different soil and weather conditions fully.
Grupo Gaitán Cuevas is also testing a new organic fertilizer that will help the root system adapt and develop quicker, and prevent the loss of valuable nutrients. This quicker adaptation is due to the lower, more acidic PH level that closes the pores of the plants, keeping the nutrients in the system. The fertilizer also redirects the use of nutrients to the growth of the plants rather than the production of hijuelos/baby plants, which will even speed up the growth process and lower the time to maturity and first harvest.
Without any targeted marketing efforts or participation in trade shows, Grupo Gaitán Cuevas has already been approached by several industry representatives showing a great interest in the processed Aloe extract, confirming the scarcity of this high-quality organic commodity. Currently, the company is in negotiation with one specific producer from Europe that already agreed to sign a letter of intent, which stipulates that, after a sequence of positive test results, the company will commit to purchase a quantity equivalent to the total production of the 220-hectare Finca Aguas Claras in Cunday.
Furthermore, Grupo Gaitán Cuevas is finalizing a strategic marketing and sales concept for the processed Aloe Vera to gain awareness in the market. The implementation of the plan will start around July this year when half of the 220-hectare plantation in Cunday will be planted. In addition, another 36-hectare piece of farmland bordering the Cunday farm is being purchased at the moment. An important aspect of the region and Colombia in general for agriculture is that it has vast amounts of virgin land that has never been farmed and therefore is not contaminated with chemicals; it is perfect for organic agriculture. Such conditions are difficult to find in the US, China, Japan, and many other industrialized countries.
LatAm Prime and Grupo Gatián Cuevas are happy to welcome every visitor at the plantation. Please don´t hesitate to contact us if you´d like to schedule a farm tour or if you have any questions regarding the plantation project.
See photo-gallery of the farm tour below.