First phase of a 160-hectare greenhouse operation now operational

Finka San Antonio cuts the ribbon on its 22-hectare greenhouse

On August 11, 2022, Finka officially inaugurated its newest 22-hectare greenhouse that was built in collaboration with Prins Group, Hoogendoorn Americas and various equipment suppliers. This project marks the first phase of Finka’s ambitious plans for its Finka San Antonio operations, which will see 160 hectares of high-tech greenhouses built over the coming decade.

The greenhouse’s inauguration was attended by the Board of Directors of Finka, multiple international suppliers, customers, companies as well as the Governor of the State of Queretaro, Mauricio Kuri Gonzalez and the Major of San Juan del Rio, Roberto Cabrera.  The President of the Board, Nathan Feldman, Governor Kuri and Finka’s CEO Jorge Del Toro spoke at the event, after which attendees were given a tour of the new facility.

In 2021, with the incorporation of Equilibrium Capital, Finka announced that the 22-hectare greenhouse was the first phase in the plan to build 80 hectares of high-tech greenhouses in San Juan del Río, Queretaro, Mexico. Since then, Finka acquired another land reserve spanning 80 hectares and has added this area to the expansion project. This will bring the total planned production area from 80 hectares to a whopping 160 hectares. After completing its 22-hectare first phase, Finka plans to build another 7 hectares in 2023 then add 14 hectares per year until the 160-hectare target is reached.

State of Queretaro ideal for greenhouse production
As Finka CEO Jorge Del Toro explains, the state of Queretaro is ideal for greenhouse production for many reasons. Firstly, the region is 2.000 m above sea level which results in an environment with moderated temperatures and high natural light levels. During the summer months, the outdoor temperature peaks around 32°C and has a minimum of 13°C, making it easier for both plants and workers to thrive.

Another advantage is the region’s proximity to Laredo, Texas which is considered a food distribution hub and allows Finka to market high-quality produce to a wide consumer base. And finally, Queretaro is in the Bajío region of Central Mexico. This region is economically vibrant, is home to many thriving companies and is one of the fastest growing regains in the country.

Success as a combination of technology and human ingenuity
Since inaugurated its first 5-hectare greenhouse in AgroPark in 2009, Finka has consistently expanded its operations and improved its greenhouse design. Now with 30 hectares in AgroPark and its ongoing expansion in San Juan del Río, Finka has landed on a winning formula: diffused glass, high post height and misting. Combined with advanced control systems by Hoogendoorn and various other systems in the greenhouse, Finka successfully grows high-quality produce year-round. However, technology alone cannot explain the company’s success. As Jorge explains, “our workers are responsible for 90% of our success.”

Bringing 22 hectares online meant training 400 team members in less than two months, a challenge that Jorge describes as “not easy but beautiful – with results that we are really happy with.”

Using the 30-hectare greenhouse complex in AgroPark as a training ground, Finka assigned trainers to small groups of people to teach them how to work with plants and improve their efficiency. By tracking employees’ progress and overall efficiency, Finka is able put more attention on certain employees to elevate their productivity and help the entire team function on harmony. In the first 2.4 hectares of the new greenhouse, seven trainers were each assigned 6-10 employees and taught them how to work with a cucumber crop before moving on to a larger greenhouse and liberating that section for new trainees.

Finka San Antonio: integrated from seeding to marketing
Today, Finka produces greenhouse vegetables over 52 hectares (30 ha in AgroPark and 22 ha in San Antonio). Altogether, this has created 1.200 direct jobs. When Finka San Antonio hits its 160-hectare project, Finka will span roughly 200 hectares and have generated 3.000 direct jobs. Also, Finka San Antonio will provide centralized propagation and packing for both Finka locations and 40 hectares of external producers.

According to Jorge, establishing its own propagation operation is crucial to ensuring the company and resilience to external shocks, such as biosecurity threats. With rugose running rampant throughout the world and demonstrating the need for strict biosecurity measures in a globalized industry, Finka plans to integrate as many operations as possible to prevent the transmission of pathogens into its facilities.
Although building propagation facilities is a top priority, Finka will first focus on its impending 7-hectare expansion.

For more information: 
Jorge Del Toro, Chief Executive Officer 

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