Baru fresh celebrates the opening of its second hydroponic high-tech facility in Panama

21 October, 2019

The following is an automatic translation of an article originally published in Spanish on Forbes on Oct 21, 2019. The full article can be found here

Baru Fresh Hydroponics aims to revolutionize the vegetable consumption market with high quality and mass access products

Confirming its high growth trend, Baru Fresh Hydroponics has just expanded its operations by opening its second cultivation plant, doubling its production and becoming a leader in high-tech agribusiness in Panama.

Baru Fresh Hydroponics began in 2016 its ambitious project to build one of the most modern plants in the region for the production of crops in substrate in a controlled environment and free of pesticides in the Chiriqui Highlands. This area, privileged by its geography, clean air and high-altitude climate (where Geisha coffee also originates, today the most valued variety in the world) presents unbeatable conditions for crops.

In the coming years, the company intends to quadruple its initial capacity and expand its presence outside the country’s borders. In their current portfolio of products they have lettuce and berries of different varieties, aromatic leaves, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, among other vegetables.

By 2020, an eco-sustainable real estate project aimed at retirees will begin, which aims to include the Agrihood trend in their community, where homes will also be powered by solar energy and water from the pristine forests of the Highlands region.

“The climatic situation of the planet must force us to think about an evolution of agriculture. In this sense, hydroponics solves many things for you: it does not over-demand the soils that are so deteriorated today, and it also allows you to grow vertically, that is, occupying limited spaces to produce the same amount of resources; It helps rationing and efficient use of water. Fundamentally, it is doing the same thing that past generations did, but in a more practical and efficient way.” The CEO of the company Baru Fresh Hydroponics, Yolanda Cristina Diaz, comments to Forbes.

“It is very important to generate sustainable cycles with the communities that surround us. For example, at Baru Fresh Hydroponics we are an important source of employment for the indigenous community, we are also members of the Panamanian reforestation program ‘Alianza para el Millón’, which aims to plant a million trees to stop the phenomenon of erosion,” explains Diaz.

This vision is promoted by the Swiss consortium Bacalia Group, and it becomes one of its main investment bets in the region, which still has many tasks ahead in terms of sustainability.

Bacalia Group has a strong presence in the region through two strategic positions: Panama and Puerto Rico. In total, it has more than a dozen subsidiaries and has more than 250 employees in operating positions.

In Puerto Rico, Bacalia Group has investments in various areas: it owns one of the largest nautical complexes in the Caribbean, which includes 3 marinas in the Fajardo area (Puerto Chico, Sealovers and Sardinera); a company for the development and management of public car parks and a series of real estate investments, including a Hotel and Metro Medical Center, an important center for the development of medicine on the island.

“In Panama and Puerto Rico we have been operating with the group for several years, and it would be natural to continue expansion in these countries that we know very well as part of our strategy. Panama is a country that has seen a slowdown in its economy, but it continues to be a competitive economic model due to its position as a Hub. Agro-logistics and tourism will certainly be the leading sectors in the coming years. Puerto Rico has been going through an economic, fiscal, and institutional crisis, but it maintains incredible competitive advantages in terms of human talent, a solid currency, and legal and institutional security. Really, the specific situations of these countries in recent years have created the opportunity for us to enter and strengthen our position” points out Giuseppe Cicatelli, President of Bacalia Group.

Bacalia Group is a rapidly growing consortium and this poses important challenges in order to maintain the solid position it has gained. The acquisition of new brands, the expansion of its portfolios and entering new markets are some of the objectives that have been set in the medium term to continue consolidating the group in the region.