Alberto Amkie
Director General
Agropark
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View from the Top

A Bet on New Forms of Business

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 10:34

Q: What is Agropark’s role in developing local producers and their surrounding community?
A: Agropark was founded in 2006 with the goal of creating a sustainable project that adheres to international standards. Agropark is a cluster of greenhouses specialized in providing an ideal hydroponic environment for products approved by the US FDA. Also, it offers world-class services and infrastructure to its members.  
Agropark was launched in two phases. The first has 300ha, of which 250ha are dedicated to greenhouses, while the remaining are common service areas. The cluster has 12 companies that oversee the production and export of products that generate added value for our customers. The second phase will include 500ha to double the cluster’s productivity; it will generate more than 5,000 jobs and the construction of 10,000 housing developments for the municipality of Colon, Queretaro. Agropark promotes growth in the community by developing better economic and productive prospects for companies, job opportunities and adjacent services related to the greenhouses. We also allocate more than 50ha to the reforestation of the area.
Q: What are Agropark’s most important products?
A: Our two main products are tomatoes and peppers. We have more than 10 varieties of tomatoes, from cherry, globe and roma to heirloom. We also produce cucumber and zucchini, but to a lesser extent. One of our medium and long-term objectives is to incorporate commercial flower exports. Among our differentiators are the conditions of our greenhouses, which are ideal for the production of flowers because there are no maximum temperatures. Also, the land is favorable for the construction of infrastructure and we have enough water to create a suitable habitation for hydroponics. We are 20km away from an international highway, which allows us to send our products across the US border in less than 24 hours.
Q: What are the requirements for a producer to join Agropark?
A: Mainly we look for consolidated and forward-looking companies. The agriculture business is so protected that it requires companies that are willing to invest in technology and plan according to a long-term vision. To join Agropark is to bet on the development of new forms of agricultural business and to participate in the creation of best practices for quality exports. Companies that want to be our partners must be aware that Agropark is an investment to enter the food industry with technology. The cluster has different technological systems from different parts of the world, such as Germany, Italy, Israel and Holland, which improve the quality of the products we export to the US. At Agropark, we give our companies the freedom to choose the technology that best suits them but we demand that it adheres to our quality parameters.
Q: What makes the Agro-Intelligent Solutions Center the most ambitious agricultural project in Mexico and how does it improve the country’s agribusiness sector?
A: All participating companies collaborate in synchrony and contribute best practices. We follow the highest standards and go beyond traditional agriculture. Within the greenhouses, we can control the production process of all our products, down to the last detail; if there is a plague, we can contain it and treat it. Our pollination methods employ insects to avoid the use of chemicals and pesticides. Also, all companies re-use water and work according to FDA regulations regarding exports to the US.
Q: Agropark exports 95 percent of its production to the US and Canada. Do you have plans to further diversify?
A: Demand for vegetables from the US exceeds the existing supply capacity, so we are expanding to meet the demand in this market. Agropark does not rule out the possibility of expanding to other markets in the long term but in the short and medium term we continue to focus our exports on the US market. The relationship will be maintained due to the commercial agreements we already have, our quality and the type of products we offer.