Del Monte is continuing the expansion of its greenhouse product line and, in addition to the state-of-the-art greenhouses recently completed in Guatemala, has begun the construction of similar hydroponic greenhouses in Buenos Aires, Costa Rica. The project that comprises of 17 greenhouses, covering 25 acres, packing house and other supporting facilities is set to be completed in the first week of December 2011 and the first harvest is projected for February 2012.
The Del Monte greenhouse facilities in Costa Rica will be similar to the greenhouses in Guatemala with a few variations due to differences in topography. The greenhouses are hydroponic, state-of-the-art facilities with sophisticated food safety and quality assurance systems. The facilities will also have integrated pest management where they will use biological methods to control disease and pests.
As part of Del Monte’s ongoing sustainability efforts, there will be many other systems and methods that will be implemented to minimize its environmental footprint and help protect and preserve the surrounding community and natural resources. An automatic irrigation system, for example, is being installed in all of the greenhouses that will capture and recycle residual water and internal drainage will help protect the surrounding water reservoirs and prevent greenhouse run-off.
The Costa Rican project will create 120 permanent jobs in the Buenos Aires area, where Del Monte has already employed many from the community for its other fruit operations. Like in Guatemala, the new facilities will help stimulate economic growth and because of an increased need for food, lodging, transportation and other social services, many new jobs indirectly related to the Del Monte greenhouse project will also be created.
“We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the facilities in Costa Rica,” said Dennis Christou, Vice President of Marketing, N.A. “Consumers continue to demand a wide variety and year-round supply of high quality tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. This expansion will enable us to provide our North American customers with a full line of consistently premium quality, greenhouse products.”
“Del Monte’s investment in greenhouse grown products signifies our continued commitment to implementing sustainable agricultural practices at our operations, worldwide,” said Christou. “It also exemplifies Del Monte’s commitment to innovation and to the continued exploration of the best ways to deliver consistently premium quality produce.”
Del Monte grown, greenhouse bell peppers are set to begin shipping early next year and other greenhouse varieties are in the pipeline for both the Guatemalan and Costa Rican facilities.
About Del Monte Fresh Produce Company
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared food in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Fresh Del Monte markets its products worldwide under the Del Monte® brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 100 years.
Source: Del Monte Fresh Produce Company