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Oscar Woltman, new president of AMHPAC:

“Mexican horticulture needs to be more seductive”

During the 9th annual AMHPAC Conference, which took place on the 24-26 of August, Oscar Woltman was inaugurated as the new president of the Mexican Association for Protected Horticulture. Oscar represents the company Hortinvest Mexico (FreshMex) and has been a member of the board for three years. He will replace Juan Arial Reyes, who said that he will continue supporting and working closely with the new board.

Oscar Woltman shared his plans for the coming years with Freshplaza. He explains that he has five action points to focus on. However, the two most important ones are making horticulture more attractive and creating more awareness for AMHPAC worldwide. “I would like to start by conducting strategic research driven by someone from outside of the AMHPAC organisation, who has a different perspective. I would like to know the position of AMHPAC in the internal market compared to other national associations in horticulture. I also believe in cooperation. It would be interesting to see how to achieve shared goals by working together with other associations. The research will show the current status of AMHPAC and the possibilities and threats. Like a blueprint, a long-term plan for about 5 years should be the final result. I hope that we can start the research in a few months”

Secondly, the association works closely with the government and Oscar wants to find out how they can strengthen these relationships. “The relationships we have with the government will also be part of the research. We have a new member of the board who has worked for the government for years. He has a different perspective on certain topics and knows how to work with the government.”

Oscar continues with the third point: “The association is well known in Mexico itself and there are a number of people in other countries who may know us. Our work in the defence of the Suspension Agreement will be continued and has given us a good name. However, I would like to know how we can strengthen the position of AMHPAC in the international market. Especially in the US and Canada as these are our main markets. The most ideal scenario would be if importers would ask whether a Mexican supplier of fresh produce is an AMHPAC member or not. That the importer knows that an AMHPAC member meets the food safety requirements, works according to the anti-dumping rules, meets the social responsibility requirements, etc. Creating this awareness isn’t something that we can achieve in two years, but we can definitely work towards it.”

The fourth and one of the most important things, is the food safety programme. Oscar says: “All members have to follow a 5 step plan, to receive the 5 star reward. This makes us stronger to the buyer, if you can show statistics on how many of the members are in a certain phase of the programme. The question is how many people outside the organisation are aware of this programme? This is something we should promote much more and benefit from it.”

Lastly, the internal position. “Are we strong enough as an association? Do we, depending on the desired growth, need to make changes from the inside as well? All questions we need to ask ourselves and which should be shown in the conducted research, explains Oscar.

Gabrielle Nuijtens, from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, once said that vegetables weren’t sexy enough for politics. Oscar remembers this very well and wants to use it in his plan for the coming years. “We need to question ourselves whether we are attractive enough for the government and for our members. Do people know what we stand for and do they know what we do and what we have achieved? We have already existed for 9 years with great achievements. We need to become sexier, more attractive, for importers and buyers in other countries. I believe we should be proud of what we have achieved so far and share this with the rest of the world.”

Oscar will be president for 2 years, with the possibility to extend this period by one year like the previous president. “It’s a good moment to become a president of AMHPAC, because there already is a good foundation and a very efficient office led by Alfredo Díaz. I only need to continue making improvements and look forward. It’s not going to be easy to follow up Juan Ariel. In the new board every member has special qualities, so I believe that by working together with each other we should be able to achieve our goals.

For more information:
Oscar Woltman
AMHPAC - Mexican Association for Protected Horticulture
T: +52 (667) 715 5830
F: +52 (667) 715 9868
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