As Mexico is experiencing an increase in high-tech CEA projects, the business platform HortiConnect,NL together with Plantanova, Van der Valk Systems, and Ludvig Svensson, have officially started a comprehensive joint project where Mexican Growers can now access the latest Svensson screen, ventilation and insect protection solutions, powered by Van der Valk specifically designed for poly-houses.
In partnership with Horticonnect, as of this writing, the first two crews of installers are being trained under the expert guidance of Sander Zwinkels. The aim is to certify that these crews will be able to independently carry out technical installations country wide in Mexico, according to the Svensson and van der Valk standards of quality and performance.
All about standards
Training is happening at the facilities of Plantanova, a young plant nursery located in central México that is upgrading its facilities in synergy with several Dutch companies with the aim not only of providing high-performance grafted vegetable plants, but also adapting technologies that can be of use of other plant propagators.
Pharis Rico is the Managing Director of both HortiConnect and Plantanova. “HortiConnect is a business platform for Dutch companies to work together, and Plantanova is a nursery for young plant propagation,” he explains. “One of our goals is to connect what I call the ‘Dutch possibilities’ into Mexico. While we are upgrading our facilities, we can also use the Plantanova facility for training, testing of technologies and adaptation, making those Dutch possibilities suitable to the Mexican reality. Once that a solution is proven then the team goes to the market and Plantanova can serve as a showcase with the quality of our plants speaking louder than our words.”
Recently, HortiConnect has been appointed as the exclusive dealer of Van Der Valk Systems in Mexico. “Van der Valk manufactures systems for the installation and operation of thermal screens and ventilation systems specifically designed for Mexican needs. On the other hand, Ludvig Svensson is the front-runner supplier of textile materials for climate screens, insect prevention, and recently through HINOVA, also ventilation equipment. The “salt and pepper” comes also with the technical support,” Pharis points out. “These products are complementary. Yet, the installation was the missing key piece of the puzzle.”
Therefore, HortiConnect is providing seed investment for two young entrepreneurs and their crews and supporting their training and the required acquired equipment, with Luis Arturo Garcia as the commercial leader of this project. “We are training the teams at the Plantanova location so that they can work independently, and if needed, can also jump into bigger projects. Horticonnect is also taking care that a stock of components is available for quick reaction towards requirements of Growers” Pharis says.
Supporting the growth
The creation and the training of these technical teams are the results of the collaboration between horticulture companies that together have a wealth of expertise that will certainly help the Mexican horticulture industry to grow. “The beauty of this project is that we are active in full synergy with Van der Valk and Svensson, to the degree that Svensson has appointed Luis Alberto Tapia as specialist who will provide support in Mexico to all the projects where installation is required, and Van der Valk master technician Sander Zwinkels will be training the crews. On top of that, he will initially be present at all those projects where HortiConnect is involved, and he will be making sure that the work of these installers is going according to the standards of Van der Valk and Svensson.”
While a lot is going on already, these are just the first steps, as there’s an ultimate goal. “The final goal is that, together with Van der Valk and Svensson, we will create a certification course where every installer can be trained and get certified under these standards to ensure that installations are made in Mexico,” Pharis remarks.
Historically, horticulture in Mexico has mainly been classified as mid-tech or high tech. “With this collaboration, we want to provide the market with “Right Tech” according to the needs of different areas with solutions,” Pharis says. “This makes me really happy because this project was born from the cooperation of different companies that are rolling up their sleeves and appointing talented people from the different companies to be on the field making this possible. It is also foreseen that in the near future, together with other companies, we will be able to provide also access to design, knowledge transfer and technical support related to specific crops and situations,” he concludes.