It’s not a secret that the Mexicangreenhouse industry has seen an amazing development over the pastdecade. From the beginning of the first development of large scalehigh tech greenhouse projects throughout the country and the start ofthe concentrated production at the Agropark in Queretaro; Dutchinstaller Stolze has been involved in many projects. At the ExpoAgroAlimentaria in Irapuato last month we spoke with Lorenzo deJong of Stolzetech aboutthe expansion of their local service team in Mexico.
"Theyear 2015 has been an incredibly busy year for us," saidLorenzo when we asked him about the trend of lastseason. "We have completed the installation of many water technical installations,climate control systems and heatinginstallations. And the development is not at a standstill; right now weare busy commencing new projects in thestate of Jalisco, Guanajuato,Puebla, Queretaro and San Luis Potosi. Most projects are concentrated in the Bajio (Central Mexico)."
Oneof the latest projects is anexpansion for Agricola El Rosal (RedSun Farms). Greenhouse builderHarnois is completing a 16 hectare expansion there and hired Stolzetech indirectly via the Dutch head quarters of Stolze Agro in the Netherlands. "El Rosalwill eventually add another +/-20 hectares at this location. Harnoissold these greenhouses including all of their projects with Stolzeinstallations inside; we take care of installing the Priva installations and alladditional systems for irrigation and climate control, CO2 dosing systems,heating systems."
The project of El Rosal is just one of the approx. 15 projects with sizesfrom 1,5Ha up to 16Ha that Stolze signed for in 2015. "For the new year 2016 we have already signed more projects that will keep us busy in the new season."
Forall those projects, theStolzetech team are responsible for the supervision, start-up and service. "After completion, allthese projects require attention and aftersales service," said Lorenzo when explaining why they are expanding their local serviceteam in Mexico. "As we need to keep up with the demand for our service we will have to expand with an additional technician."
The team from Stolzetech at the Expo AgroAlimentaria in Mexico "Currently the Stolzetech team consists of myself as the main technician and Edgar Lopez Reyes as the second technician. In 2016 we will expand with Mario GuiterezMartinez, our trainee irrigation technician. During the busy period alsoFrancisco Sanchez (Second technician ) from Spain always comes to helpus with the supervision. This yearhe was in Mexico for almost 6 months. Besides the technician, Fernando Alfaro takes care of the sales, while my wife Eugania takes care of administration."
Stolze Mexico was founded in the city of Irapuato in 2012. The office already has 6 persons that cover the local sales,logistics, storage and the needed administration. Before opening StolzeMexico, Lorenzo was already providing service in the country sincelate 2010. "Thedecision to start with the local service and for me staying in Mexicowas taken by myself and Theo Stolze when we had a meeting in the endof 2010 after we successfully supervised, installed and started up 3projects in that year."
"In March 2011 I moved over to Irapuato and taught myself the Spanish language. Immediately I got incredibly busy over here doing long shifts and drivinghuge distances from one grower to another. Many growers havegot Dutch technology installed and those installations requireservice, just like in Holland. The problem in Mexico however is thatthere are not many experienced and trained people available for thisjob and the distances to projects. Many growers rely on our knowledgeand experience as there is a big lack of qualified companies that canprovide this service."
Freelance serviceman Lorenzo working on a job. Lorenzo was born in Holland amidst the greenhouses; his mother was a hard working greenhouse worker while his father is a well known name in the trade of fresh produce in Holland. "It seems like we will never be done over here,you go from one job to another job."
Theservicemen recalls the days when he was still working in Holland."After several years in Mexico, sometimes I wish I was back inHolland, doing standard nine hour shifts andcoming home to be with my family every day. In Mexico, some projects are 5 to 6hours driving, making overnight stays sometimes necessary. Also thesafety (robberies, kidnappings, shootings) in Mexico and the badroads make this job difficult and maybe it is also a reason for othertechnicians to not understand why I stay here. But onthe other hand; the work in Mexico also has its charms; it'schallenging to provide supervision on each project and to be on topof the work. At the same time I met my very supportive Mexican wife here,got married and have a lovely little 21 month old daughter. Add to that the goodfood and nice weather and you will understand why I won’t beleaving Mexico any time soon!"