It is one of the healthiest types of fruit. Rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. But passion fruit is also very healthy for the local community. Take a look around the village of Gama, a spot on the map of Colombia, near the capital Bogota. Labour-intensive cultivation helps many residents here to earn an income. Residents who work for grower Pedro Ortiz.
"Buenos dias!" We are warmly greeted at Pedro's company, located in an area at the foothills of the Andes. He has lived here all his life, he says. Pedro is one of the many growers who are affiliated with Ocati. It is a large export company in Colombia, which supplies around 15 types of tropical fruit. This includes the passion fruit, the edible fruit of the passionflower. It is native to this area, the Brazilian part of the Amazon. Passion fruit growing is not the only thing that happens here. There is a varied menu out in the fields: beans, tomatoes and potatoes.
But he especially likes growing passion fruit. 'That cultivation has brought us a lot. The passion fruit first of all has a good return. And it is a very labour-intensive cultivation. Around 15 women work here. There is not much work in this area. This way their families have an income and the entire local community can benefit from that. Since the passion fruit grows, you can see the village blooming, he explains enthusiastically. Many employees are related to one another.
Sustainability is also important in this part of the world. 'We are increasingly growing organic here'. Membership of Ocati helps with this. The exporter supports the growers with knowledge to optimise growing.
Pedro also loves passion fruit. He takes a knife and cuts open the fruit. 'See, that's how I like to eat it: cut it in half and spoon it out. It’s great. Here, taste it. You can also make desserts with it. Or a sauce for meat dishes. But everyone here usually eats the fruit fresh when it is ripe.' Once it has arrived at the European consumer, a passion fruit keeps for a maximum of three weeks.
When we say goodbye one thing is insisted upon. 'Tell everyone at home they should eat as much of our tasty passion fruit as possible. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. And everyone who buys our passion fruit also helps our village move forward! Adios!’
Pedro is one of our Ocati farmers
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