Baru Fresh inaugurates the most modern hydroponic plant in Central America

25 Oct, 2019

The following is an automatic translation of an article originally published in Spanish on Inversiones y Negocios on Oct 25, 2019. The full article can be found here

  • The agricultural firm, part of the Swiss holding company Bacalia Group, has become the market leader in the production of organic fruit and vegetables in Panama and one of the benchmarks in the industry in the region.

 

  • The company aims to revolutionize the vegetable consumption market with high-quality, mass-accessible products.

 

Eating well is expensive and we all know it. Even more so if they are high-quality and organic products, which generally do not stay in our borders and would migrate mainly to European and Asian markets. But in Panama there is a company that thinks that first you have to feed your family well and without paying extra: Baru Fresh.

On the slopes of the imposing Barú volcano, surrounded by an intense green and low clouds that move at an unusual speed, Yolanda Diaz, CEO of Baru Fresh, observes two gigantic white ships, where -very probably- the best vegetables grow inside and country strawberries. Yolanda controls every detail of her mega project, from her employees’ clothing, the state of the roads, what her collaborators eat, to the intense negotiations with retail giants or the complex organic processes that take the product to its highest level.

She, together with her partner -and her husband, the businessman Giuseppe Cicatelli, started this project 2 years ago visiting the south of Spain, to learn from the best in Hydroponics and study the technology they wanted to bring to the country: the NGS system.

The NGS system is largely responsible for the result of this product, a state-of-the-art technology unique in the region, which added to the pristine air of the Highlands, the pure waters that flow through its slopes and the spectacular high altitude climate, offer the possibility of a product that goes to the next level.

“By far, our products are the most complete on the market in relation to quality-price, the taste is something that surprises and above all because they are not foods that have been forced to grow or change their color as transgenic foods do. What we do can be compared to a human being who is educated: when a person is with the best teachers, in an environment designed to reach the best level of him, you will have highly competent professionals. It’s the same here, we give each product the best possible environment so that it reaches its maximum potential” tells us Yolanda Diaz, CEO of Baru Fresh.

If something defines Baru Fresh, make the most of its resources. This technology saves 50% of the water that is commonly needed for these crops and not a drop is lost, because the irrigation system is circular with an infinite and constant rotation chain. In addition, the crops allow vertical planting, therefore they take advantage of space, do not overload the land and produce more per square foot. And of course, with its controlled environment system, the word pesticide does not exist in Baru Fresh.

And the issue of exports does not attract attention, since they are products that can quietly gain a foothold in demanding nations and that pay better prices. In this sense, Diaz has a clear vision: “A business cannot be based solely on purely commercial decisions, since a business without philosophy is a simple transaction, with a finite life and duration. But when you have a concept, a vision that for its value in itself obtains commercial value, growth has no ceiling. Consumers today are very informed people, they value more than ever what they put in their mouths, and in our countries that produce raw materials, the food industry usually leaves the rest to the local population, and that is the paradigm shift that we want to promote , ours first, our children, our grandparents, our community. It is the only way to evolve as a nation.”

And this consideration of caring for the community is not only reflected in the product, but also in those who work manually harvesting each vegetable that grows here, where 90% of the workers belong to the local Nobe Goble indigenous community, who for centuries have inhabited these lands.

 

REACH THE WHOLE COUNTRY

The next great challenge for Baru Fresh is to reach the entire country, and with the inauguration of its second plant and recent signing with the Rey Supermarket chain, it is a dream that is beginning to take shape.

In the Inauguration meeting of the second floor, several future clients such as supermarkets and distributors attended, attracted by this agricultural utopia that is silently developing in the domain of the imposing Barú Volcano.

For this reason, the next time you go to the supermarket and see a lettuce with the Baru Fresh logo, you will know that it is not just any vegetable, that they were cared for and harvested manually by members of an ancestral culture, that you have a product that is friendly to the environment and, above all, a flavor that will not leave you indifferent. Enjoy!