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Mexico: Divemex picks first crop from Ahualulco expansion
Divemex, a Mexican greenhouse vegetable grower, has just harvested its first peppers from a recently opened greenhouse in Ahualulco. "While many growers have expanded into new regions to expand and extend their offerings, we have opened a new greenhouse," says Luis de Saracho, CEO of Guadalajara Jalisco-based Divemex. “It complements our facilities in Etzatlan and Culiacan. "The expansion extends our season, which lasts through May, by more than a month.”
50 percent of production is organic
The peppers from that new facility also tap into another growth trend in produce: pairing Fair Trade Certified with certified organic. “This enables us to meet the very strong demand for organically grown produce in the U.S. and Canada,” says de Saracho, noting that the demand for organics is driving the choices greenhouse growers are making. “U.S. organic produce sales have grown by about 9 per cent in the last year, compared with around 2 per cent for conventional produce,” he says. With its new Ahualulco facility, nearly 50 per cent of Divemex’s total production is now organic.
"We've achieved growth through investment in key areas: in technology, employees, and sustainability. It was a tall order for a challenging industry such as agriculture," said de Saracho. Tall but not unreachable. "After all, in 2011, we became the first Fair Trade Certified pepper grower," de Saracho continued. “And while we had long prioritized the welfare of our team members, Fair Trade Certification enables them to benefit directly from their hard work. It empowers our workers to channel funds to projects that significantly impact their quality of life.”
Scholarships and more
That impact, which affected more than 2,000 Divemex employees and family members, included receiving scholarship programs developed using the Fair Trade premiums. It also came via a “Como En Casa” (“Just Like Home”) program which worked towards building communities for workers so they would feel, well…just like home. “Families have private, well-equipped living spaces, and there’s daycare, school, and playgrounds for kids,” says de Saracho.
Divemex also offers medical and dental care. “This way, we can be assured that everyone is doing okay and contributing to the best of their ability,” says de Saracho.
Focusing on the planet
And then there’s the sustainability factor. “We save energy by using solar panels at our pack house. Our irrigation system minimizes water use and integrates reservoirs to catch rain water,” says de Saracho. “So we promote a culture of respect for one another and for the planet.”
The entire vision does wrap up into one new positioning line for the company: Growing Beyond Expectations. “This conveys our vision for the future well,” says de Saracho. “We aim to continue growing in ways that may surprise and hopefully delight our customers.”
Tel: 206 499 7440
Publication date: 9/13/2017
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