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Hernán Rivera Fierro, Agroverde:
"Greenhouses involve a great investment, but yield good results"The cultivation of greenhouse vegetables in Ecuador is increasing exponentially, as climate conditions in the country have changed a lot in recent years and open field vegetables face great difficulties, according to agricultural engineer Hernán Rivera Fierro, of Agroverde. "We are in the Ecuadorian Andes, 2,950 metres above sea level, and the list of agricultural products grown under roof includes tomatoes, peppers and gherkins," he explains.
Ecuador exports a lot of fruits, but, when it comes vegetables, what exports the most is broccoli. "There are very large companies in Ecuador that export frozen broccoli to the whole world. We are also trying to ship tomatoes and peppers, but unfortunately, in this country we have the fruit fly that forces us to undergo many controls to be able to export," continues Rivera. For this reason, and because of the great distance from the main international markets, virtually all of the production is intended for the domestic market. In fact, Ecuador is quite self-sufficient and hardly imports vegetables, with the possible exception of onions.
For these reasons, the Ecuadorian government and the country's agricultural producers are "looking to transform raw materials into processed products," stated Rivera. Growing in greenhouses is a good way to achieve this, even though it entails high costs. However, Rivera believes that the benefits will be much greater, since their crops have the GlobalGAP (Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices) certifications demanded by the market. "Although it involves a great investment due to the very high cost of the infrastructure that we need to build, the cultivation in greenhouses yields very good results. The production has remained constant, and we can harvest, for example, tomatoes for between 4 and 5 months," he affirms.
Agroverde is a family business that has been in the market for 17 years and which has recorded significant growth in recent years. "Our children are currently our strategic partners; we have three agricultural warehouses and other facilities in different areas. We are also moving towards a more organic agriculture; not only do we grow organic products, we also manufacture processed organic products, including plant extracts, organic amino acids, organic repellents, Trichoderma sp., fungicides and cellular activators," explains Rivera. "Moreover, the company is the importer for Ecuador of Hazera Genetics seeds from Israel and the Netherlands, as well as of Turba from Latvia, tomato raffia from China, tomato tying machines from Spain, and sowers and transplanters from Italy."
Among its new products, Agroverde is getting ready to import carrot and gherkin seeds, as well as some of a watermelon variety, all from the Netherlands. Lastly, the company is contributing to tackle the problems caused by the main tomato pest: the Tuta absoluta, in Ecuador, importing pheromones of the insect from Central America in order to control its population. "Our country is looking for new products for new market niches, as seeking these alternatives would be good for the market," he concludes.
Agr. Eng. Hernán Rivera Fierro Msc.
Agroverde (Agricultural solutions)
Distributor for Ecuador of Hazera Seed Ltd.
Av. Leopoldo Freire y Bucarest
Riobamba, Ecuador Tel.: +593-3-2626664 / +593 9 93773443
Publication date: 5/24/2017
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