Jorge Silva Cuevas, is a third generation farmer and rancher of Zapotiltic, in southern Jalisco. He is an example of the many young people who have recently ventured into the berry sector.
He gladly shares his experience as a new producer, motivated by what is happening in Mexico and in this region of western Mexico. He has found an opportunity to continue living as a farmer, improve his family's conditions and, why not, make some money.
Jorge currently has a 2200 producer code with the Giddings company, which has motivated and supported him in this task he started at his Ranch in May 2017, attracted by the boom in berries and by his friendship with producers who were already engaged with the crop.
The advice of the company and of Engineer Daniel Partida, helped Jorge decide he was going to grow raspberries, among other reasons, because he could start generating income soon and be harvesting after just 4 months. According to Jorge, he started by planting 5 thousand square meters last year and in June this year he is already planting another 5 thousand square meters. He also has a reserve of another 3 hectares, but wants to take things slowly because, in his words, he still has much to learn about this activity, especially about its technical and administrative aspects, among other things.
Why is working in partnership with marketers so important? Jorge is convinced that small producers like him, are unable to negotiate with large suppliers of inputs or marketers but that this scheme allows him to achieve better prices and better marketing conditions and security. In addition, this experience makes him be more responsible. "Giddings is demanding with me as an associate producer. They give me support, financing, advice, and plants. That makes me more committed to producing high quality raspberries."
He also said that he received financial support from the Financiera Nacional FND via the money they granted to the Ciudad Guzman Agency and added: "I am visited by an agronomist from Giddings every week. He verifies the proper application of the nutrition and management plan of the culture in each of its stages, gives us technical guidance and verifies the follow-up. It helps us a lot because we also learn about pests and possible diseases. We have to foresee everything, and I, on my own, read and go to other fields of producers and talk to them, they talk to me about their daily experiences... I am constantly learning."
In this first stage, Jorge has learned to be efficient and agile. He already has an efficient team of harvesters that quickly learned the techniques and good agricultural practices and that also perform packaging tasks and take care of the plants.
This year Jorge had two crops of the Evita raspberry variety. The first one took place from September 19 to December 26, and yielded 3,000 boxes. Then he did a half-round pruning and started harvesting again from March 24 to May 13, obtaining another 2 thousand boxes. Since each box weighs 2.4 kilos, Jorge obtained approximately 12 tons of fruits in a year.
The pests and lack of personnel are some of the main problems of the crop; the pests must be monitored daily and producers must perform preventive applications. To find personnel, they must look for labor in other parts of the country and offer good salaries so that it is also profitable and attractive.
Some words from Jorge: "Berries are a good source of income, but you have to start little by little. New producers must not rush with it because it is a very laborious crop, especially in the harvest. They should approach the people who already cultivate it and the marketing companies that work with it, we all must take care of this crop because any mistake can be painful and very costly... I'm happy because we contribute to the growth of our community here in the southern region of Jalisco, especially in Zapotiltic, because we can grow as people, as farmers, and as entrepreneurs."
Producers grow many different varieties of raspberry. It is the most consumed berry in the whole world, and very appreciated because of its color. It is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and according to several studies, it helps prevent cancer and lose weight.
Hugo Rangel GuzmánGrupo AGRO21, Comunicación Rural