Florida growers’ marketing arm is ramping up its promotional muscle by promoting the state’s winter and spring produce to a major South American retailer.

Florida promotional outfit adds Colombian retailer

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ division of marketing has signed Carrefour-Colombia S.A., a large Colombian hypermarket chain to its Fresh from Florida marketing programs, according to a news release.

Department marketing representatives have been working with the French-owned chain as well as importers in the country to get them interested in buying Florida-grown produce. After making initial contacts, a marketing team visited the department’s “Fresh from Florida” pavilion at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2010 in Orlando, Fla.

Buyers from the Colombian chain visited with nearly a dozen Florida grower-shippers who exhibited in the pavilion and discussed marketing possibilities, according to the release. The buyers talked about Florida citrus, colored bell peppers, cucumbers, sweet corn and tomatoes.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said the agency has increased its Colombian marketing efforts as the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, called the Colombia Free Trade Agreement or FTA, nears ratification.