Sure there is such a thing as healthy competition, but ‘no competition’ is also possible when grower partners can collaborate, partner up and make the most of their growing seasons. It all works to the consumers’ benefit because the same varieties of fruit they like are available in stores for a longer period of time .
Carlos Bon of Divine Flavor says his grower partners don’t compete with each other. “That’s key. We have our own seasons; we complement each other. What we’ve gotten better at is in choosing the same varieties that we want to focus on and major in and have it on a more consistent basis for a longer period of time to be able to have this piece of fruit on the shelf for more than one season.”
Peru is essentially done for the season. “It was an outstanding year for quality,” he says. “I personally saw a huge difference from last year to this year. You can clearly see the improvements Peruvians are making. I’m referring to the whole industry – and my partners. Every year, the condition of fruit at arrival, the stems are fresher, the fruit is firmer, it’s sweeter.” Bon’s grower partners include Ecosac (northern Peru), Agricola Don Ricardo (southern Peru) and Santa Elena (Chile).
Chile is going full speed ahead and Bon says now is when Chilean growers excel for the late storage fruit. Bon's partner Gonzalo “is more of a grape artist than a grape grower” referring to the extensive and delicate work his partner does to grow healthy long lasting grapes. I feel very comfortable bragging about my partners' (fruit) – they’re in another planet when it comes to growing a good lasting shelf-life grape. Bon said Chile’s season has been good, without challenges and fruit condition is very good. “The market was sloppy for a while and there was a lot of bad quality fruit out there but now we’re getting into crimson and other varieties. I see no reason for it to be outstanding all the way through Mexico.”
Mexico appears to be having a challenging year for grapes. The winter was hot, but some weather events in February have Bon and others in the industry evaluating the full effects yet. Cold morning temperatures were around 32F degrees during that month. “One of the effects we can see now is mainly on red seedless grapes.” He’s not too concerned, however. “The important thing is delivering our commitments. The reason I’m comfortable and calm is because even though the season will have less from Mexico we’ll actually have more than last year. We actually have a lot of new acreage coming into production of proprietary grapes like Sweet Celebration, Sweet Globe, Timpson, Krissy, Midnight Beauty and others. Even though in December I thought I would have more grapes than what I'm seeing now, I’ll (still) have more than enough to cover my commitments to retailers for normal and ad business.”
More than half of the acreage is new proprietary varieties, which Bon says don’t seem affected by the weather events in Mexico, with the exception of Sweet Sapphire. “We got hurt pretty bad. Out of the 25 varieties we currently grow it’s the only one I won’t be able to deliver what I originally planned.” Everything else is expected to deliver in a timely manner with the right quality for normal business and also new contracts. Bon says he’s already closed some deals for his Mexican season. For more information on how can you expand your Agribusiness from or to Latin America, ask FGH´s International Agribusiness, Latin America's leading Agribusiness Consulting firm