Being interviewed by Veggies From Mexico, Mr. Alfredo Díaz Belmontes – CEO of the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture (AMHPAC) shared with us all the details on the 13th Edition of their Annual Convention, same that will be held from September 1-3 in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur.
Mr. Díaz is a native of Guamúchil, Sinaloa; he is an Agronomist graduated from Tec de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey and has a Master’s Degree in Economic Development by University of California, Davis and holds extensive experience in the farming sector, which goes to show in this pleasant interview.
1.Would you mind telling us a bit about your professional experience and how has it been like to run the AMHPAC?
A few years of my professional life, I worked for various government agencies of the Public Federal Administration: I started in a semi-public agency of the then BANRURAL bank, in the coordination of a variety of studies to evaluate the technical, economic and financial feasibilities of several agribusinesses across the country, which had received funding from the bank and were inactive at that moment. Then, I worked at the Ministry of Programming and Budget for a few years, which later became SEDESOL, and I was also a banker for 12 years in BANOBRAS. Also, I was ASERCA’s Regional Manager in the Northwestern states of Mexico and finally, I was a representative of Federal SEDESOL in Sinaloa.
During this time, I combined these activities with entrepreneurial work, both in personal projects and in the family businesses (I am the third generation of a family of farmers).
By the end of 2012 and in the absence of my father, I found myself in the need of getting more actively involved in the family businesses. At the same time, a group of farmer friends invited me to run the AMHPAC, for which I am grateful until this day. From March 2013, I have been privileged in contributing the growth of this industry through the AMHPAC.
2. What is protected agriculture and how has it increased in Mexico?
Protected agriculture consists of, in plain words, protecting crops through structures made of various materials (mesh, plastic, glass) with the purpose of defending these crops from adverse weather conditions, as well as pests and diseases; in addition to optimizing the use of significant inputs such as, for example, water and nutrients. All of the above with the purpose of obtaining greater yields and better qualities; and also, finding new production windows for exports.
Protected agriculture from Mexico is a success story worldwide; due to the exponential growth it has had in recent years (2000-2021).
In 2000, there were less than 300 protected hectares (741.31 acres) in the country. At the end of 2019, Mexico already had 54,150 hectares (133,809.56 acres). We assume than by now that date could be close to 60,000 hectares (148,263.23 acres). But the Agrifood and Fisheries Information System (SIAP) has not released the new statistics. We are also talking about the fact that we have a cutting-edge, highly technical protected agriculture, and it is also one of the best in the world (if not the best) such as the Dutch one.
3. What is the source of the concern for developing the AMHPAC Annual Convention and how has it evolved throughout its editions?
The AMHPAC’s Annual Convention was born from the need that farmers affiliated to this National Organization could reunite, meet, and make business together. After over 10 years, this forum has become a benchmark for Protected Horticulture in Mexico, and this year on September 1-3 in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, the 13th Edition of the AMHPAC’s Annual Convention will be held.
4. How many attendees do you expect in this next edition?
This year will be different due to the situation caused by Covid-19. Even so, on September 1-3, we are expecting the presence of over 250 attendees.
5. What is the main purpose of the event and what is its target audience?
Its purpose is for attendees to learn and make business alliances between high-level executives from Mexico and from other countries that will attend the event.
The AMHPAC’s Annual Convention is meant for both national and international leaders of the fruit and vegetable industry, farmers, public officers, supply chain representatives, researchers and consultants related to this sector.
6. What will the general program of the event be comprised of?
The program will be comprised of the General Ordinary Meeting, a series of conferences lectured by prestigious experts, a commercial exhibition area, stands of inputs and service suppliers (annual sponsors), a business area to hold meetings with marketers, financial institution representatives and expert lawyers on the Mexican Tomato Suspension Agreement. We will also be having Networking activities.
7. What are the main benefits that participants will obtain for attending the convention?
We are excited to know that we will reunite with the main representatives of the various links of both the production and the distribution chain of Mexican produce who, throughout the entire event, will be listening to the most relevant subjects of the Industry, under a scheme where attendees will learn from the best experiences.
8. From all the activities to be carried out within the framework of the convention, which one do you think is the most relevant, in benefit of the farming industry?
This year, the National Board of the Directors from the AMHPAC will be renewed during the General Ordinary Meeting, and the attendance of our Farmer Partners (traducción de “Socios Productores”, favor de revisar) is essential so that they can cast their votes for the members of Board representing them. Similarly, within the framework of the event, meetings will be held with financial institution representatives, the lawyers which represent us both in Mexico and in the US in addressing the Suspension Agreement situation, and marketers; same that will travel to meet new potential clients.
9. What are the nationalities of the main attendees to this convention, and what are the main business opportunities for participants?
We will be having representatives from Mexico, the US, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, France, South Korea, among others. Attendees will have the opportunity to make businesses with input and service suppliers, and will also be able to develop alliances with other farmers.
10. Would you mind sharing with us a bit about the history and significance of the AMHPAC?
With the birth of protected horticulture (2000) and the start of its rise (2005 and on), the Industry saw the need to become a group nationally to face the challenges and threats arising, and this is where the AMHPAC is born, as the horticultural organizations existing back then were very regional, as it is the case of the CIDH-CAADES that is the most iconic.
The formal birth of the AMHPAC occurred in 2008 and its growth, just as that of the Protected Industry, has been very relevant.
This organization saw the light with a little over 40 affiliated companies. To date, it has nearly 400 companies which, together, are producing 1’300,000 tons of mostly tomato (60%); pepper (19%) and cucumber (17%), with a production value of $1,280 billion dollars, and an employment generation of 100,000 new jobs.
11. What are the main strategic areas of the association and the main services for its members?
The strategic areas of the Association are:
- Business and market intelligence.
- Execution and compliance of the Suspension Agreement, with an invaluable support of the Ministry of Communication, Dissemination and Social Responsibility, as well as the Ministry of Management and Finances.
The main services are:
- Constant training.
- Programs and alliances to promote Corporate Social Responsibility.
- Management of the Number of the Suspension Agreement.
- Organization of Trade Missions.
- Advisory and collaboration in the management of federal support.
- Management of financial support and access to funding.
- Special rates to attend the AMHPAC’s Annual Convention.
- An over 50% discount in annual membership fee of Blue Book Services.
- AMHPAC Assurance Fund.
- Liaison with input and service supplying companies (AMHPAC sponsors).
- Agri-Food Shielding Program.
- Weighing of new tomato packaging presentations.
- Legal advice.
- Advisory to obtain insurance for greenhouse infrastructure.
- Market and statistical information.
- Market and crop diversification, added value.
- Releases and newsletters
12. Is there anything else you would like to add?
At this summit event of the AMHPAC, the current situation of the horticultural industry will be analyzed, as well as the risks and opportunities existing in the sector. The international business environment will also be examined, and it will be used to reinforce the relations between decision-makers involved in the event.
For more information, please visit this website:
Sign-up for the event: https://congreso.amhpac.org/2021/index.php/registro