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Growing towards off-season production in Queretaro:

Mexico: Geoponica preparing next expansion

After their recent completion of a 8.2 hectare expansion at the Agropark in Queretaro, Mexican bell pepper grower Geoponica is announcing plans for another expansion.

Geoponica's head grower Richard Billekens informed us that the new project of the red, orange and yellow bell pepper grower is slated to break ground in January 2017.

In November, the crews will begin with the excavation for these 5 hectares, that will bring the total acreage of Geoponica to 24 hectares. However, Geoponica's packing house has a capacity to process 50 hectares of production. "Therefore we have the option to build another 26 hectares on the lot that we have left at Agropark I."


Aerial view of Geoponica's operations at the Agropark in Queretaro.


Geoponica's recent expansion is already full of new peppers. For this expansion, Italian manufacturer P-TRE supplied the gutters.

Richel will again be the main supplier of choice for the 5 hectare expansion. "They will supply the material but we will again be building the greenhouse ourselves. We gained a lot experience with this over the past few years.'' 

Geoponica again opted to build a plastic house. "In our opinion the best option for growing peppers in Queretaro", said Billekens.


Crews of Geoponica building the 8.2 ha Richel house earlier this year.

The head grower furthermore stressed, that there is a good market to expand high tech greenhouse production in Mexico; Geoponica’s customers are demanding more and more high quality product and have even asked for more consistent off season production.

"Now that we have more greenhouses and separate sections, we are able to produce various crops with different planting timelines. We can for example plant some of our crops in the cooler climate of May when they are less susceptible to the heat."

But producing more off season also asks for a good technical understanding and the right equipment.

"This year for example, it stayed hot from mid March to mid August with very high radiation levels of 1000 Watt/m2. Fortunately we had a screen installation available in order to protect the plants against the heat. Furthermore, the greenhouses are painted with white wash. These kinds of technologies are very important to achieve a good quality year round production in Mexico."


Geoponica's packhouse has enough capacity to process 50 hectares of bell peppers.

Billekens also said that a tight strategy is required to produce a year round supply. "We want to have the lowest amount of production May to July, when the Canadian growers are in their peak season and prices are lower. We need to have the highest production available from November to March when there is no Canadian or U.S. product on the market and the prices are high. With the rainy season coming later every year it requires a lot of flexibility and planning."



Riococo was the substrate supplier of choice for Geoponica this season

Propagation

Besides expansion of their operations and adding more off season production, Geoponica will also look at propagation in the future. "As we get larger it becomes more and more appealing to us to propagate our own plants. For tomatoes it is complicated with grafting, but with bell peppers its easier. We've been working together with seed breeders to define the most suitable seeds for our region and will open a small propagation greenhouse in the future, also with eyes on R&D."

This month, the Agropark announced the expansion of the second stage. Agropark II will include housing for workers and other important facilities like schools, a nursery, and parks. The board and growers at Geoponica are very delighted with this new stage. "The philosophy behind the new Agropark is in line with Geoponica's Mission, Vision and Values. Our company and its shareholders are dedicated to fulfill this mission and become a reliable source for high quality hydroponic products.”

Geoponica's expansion was completed with supplies from:

Richel Greenhouses
info@richel.fr
www.richel.fr

Riococo
info@riococo.com
www.riococo.com

P-TRE Gutter Systems
info@ptre.it
www.ptre.it





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