The 7th AMHPAC Annual Congress was held on August 28-29, 2014 at the Hotel Barcelo Grand Faro in Los Cabos, Mexico, and attended by over 330 participants. The conference program began with a filled agenda of dignitaries from all sectors of the industry aimed at strengthening networks, increasing sales and training. Reinventing for the Future was this year’s theme and participants from 20 states from the Mexican Republic and 5 countries gathered to discuss all facets of producing vegetables in protected agriculture. Exhibiting at the conference were approximately 48 companies who took advantage to promote inputs and services.
Juan Ariel Reyes Rabago, President of AMHPAC, states, “We are reinventing for the future. As you have heard in the conference, we see growers from all over Mexico who are traditionally growing and producing in open fields, additionally they have made significant investments in Mexican produce. The first areas of investments have been in technology, specifically irrigation; producers have seen 30-40% increases in production from this investment and continue investing in other areas. The second identified area of investment are the shade houses and they can go up to investing in plastic green houses and so on with further technologies – this has been happening at a very steady rate for the past 6 to 7 years.”
Alfredo Diaz, AMHPAC Executive Director commented, “there were many successes to this year’s conference, but one of our main accomplishments regarding Reinventing for the Future contained two objectives:
- To advance programs of business negotiations and further strengthen business relationships within the entire chain.
- To provide networking sessions throughout the conference where buyers and growers network, to build new business relationships.”
Diaz adds, “The results were that buyers and growers leave Cabo with the opportunity of strengthening further bonds between Mexico and the U.S. We have worked to identify buyers with demand for our products and here in Los Cabos growers had the opportunity to meet with those buyers. Together we have been able to integrate a united and stronger produce industry.”
AMHPAC has helped implement various new systems or programs during this past year. Reyes explains, “We have new software for members and associates of AMHPAC on our website providing the grower with the tools to be more efficient and effective within the market place. The website provides the growers with matchmaking and networking options that offer the producers solutions with the efficiency to make business decisions.
Reyes continues, “We are a very advanced organization and are designing a progressive campaign with CAADES, Consejo Agrícola de Baja California, Sagarpa and ProMexico. We plan to promote the quality, availability and food safety of Mexican Produce. The campaign will run for 4 years and will definitely point the final consumer in the U.S. to recognize Mexico as a reliable trade partner producing quality and safe products. As AMHPAC, we are dedicated producers that are focused on promoting a clear and constant message regarding our food safety and reliability programs.”
The protected agricultural industry in Mexico continues to confront and overcome challenges. Reyes states, “Weather conditions have changed all around the world and Mexico is no exception. For example, if you produce product in a shade house you will harvest product for 8 to 9 months during the year which is your profitable breaking point and if you experience an early freeze after that – that’s a problem. In high tech greenhouses, there are heat and co2 components that can manipulate the humidity in the atmosphere to create ideal growing conditions.” Reyes continues, “But you can’t fool Mother Nature, it can rain for more than 6 to 7 days straight and if that happens there could be cloudy days to follow. At that point, the product loses the sunshine that strongly affects the growth pattern in the plant – resulting in negative effects in the roots that might even jeopardize export for several weeks and that affects your profitability.”
AMHPAC focuses on five concepts:
4. Diversification of crops
5. Diversification of markets
Diaz summarizes, “We have already made several advances, specifically in technology creating software to advance us in the above areas. This will provide AMHPAC a platform that will help us connect directly with U.S. buyers and eventually buyers throughout the world. This software will tell us what the U.S. product demands, and we will be able to contact the buyers directly resulting in providing buyers with a consistent programs fulfilling their exact needs including value added products.”
Diaz adds, “This program will begin in 2015 and will be the catalyst to strengthening partnerships with US and Mexico in all areas, technically, commercially and reliably offering product of their exact specifications. There are still many things to do but we are consistently and steadily moving forward.”
AMHPAC Communications Manager, Karina Reyes, reported over 330 registered participants contributed to the success of in this year’s conference. Reyes explains, “We have seen growth in our membership; we are excited to report that we are welcoming 23 new members into AMHPAC at this conference bringing our membership to 285 members within AMHPAC.”
Source: AMHPAC (Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture A.C.)