The coronavirus has had a huge impact on all our lives so far, with even more change to come. For producers and producer groups, business must go on – albeit not quite as usual. So how are they affected by this crisis? We recently caught up with Tulio Garcia, CEO of the Cuatro Pinos Cooperative in Guatemala, to find out how the pandemic has affected his business.  

The Cuatro Pinos Cooperative was founded in 1979 and now works with around 12,000 small- and medium-sized farms. It is especially active in the fresh produce market, with its main export destinations being the USA, the Netherlands, England, and Germany. The company is also active in Asia in the frozen produce segment.   

During a video call with GLOBALG.A.P. we had the opportunity to learn how the COVID-19 crisis is manifesting in the region, how it has been affecting exports, and what challenges and opportunities have arisen during the pandemic.  

Tulio Garcia explained that orders from international markets have declined as much as 50% in recent weeks. He notes the importance the company had in direct consumer markets (restaurant chains, for example), which have paused their operations. This has affected the demand for fresh produce. For frozen produce, the situation is different: there has been growing demand for frozen vegetables. Such trends show that the crisis is influencing consumer habits. The consumption of fresh products has dropped, and consumers are turning more towards canned or frozen products.  

Due to sanitary restrictions and restricted working hours, the Cuatro Pinos packaging plants are currently not working at 100% capacity. Further issues, such as the logistics of product transportation, have also presented new challenges, especially in air freight. The Cuatro Pinos Cooperative is making great efforts to mitigate this problem.  

Although the current situation is difficult, Garcia is clear about the challenges ahead for the export sector: The sector will have to “reinvent itself” to remain competitive – this, in turn, depends on their teams’ ability to succeed in the present crisis.  

Cooperativa Integral Agrícola Mujeres Cuatro Pinos R.L.
GGN 4052852049085


Photo: Tulio Garcia, CEO of the Cuatro Pinos Cooperative, by courtesy of Cooperativa Integral Agrícola Mujeres Cuatro Pinos R.L.