North American importer Giumarra, which is currently shipping expanded volumes of its Sonoran watermelon crop from Mexico, recently hosted Bob Morrissey of the National Watermelon Association on a tour of the growing, harvesting, and packing operations of its watermelon partner, Videxport.
“Mexico is such a significant part of our watermelon business in the US, and it was important for me to visit the western side of Mexico,” said Morrissey. “I consider this trip to be a major part of my educational tour in learning about the industry.”
Giumarra has continued to trial watermelon crops in different areas of Mexico in order to offer a robust Mexican watermelon programme in both spring and autumn, with a move toward 52-week availability.
The company markets Nature’s Partner-brand watermelon grown in the Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Colima, and Michoacán. Sonora represents the largest producer of Nature’s Partner watermelons, with more than 50 per cent of the total annual crop.
“We felt it was essential to host Bob [Morrissey], as well as our domestic melon partner, Art Perry of Perry & Sons, in Mexico so they could experience firsthand the sophistication of Videxport’s growing operation and worker welfare programmes,” explained John Corsaro, CEO of the Giumarra Companies.
Morrissey noted the collective care taken by Videxport employees to harvest and pack a high-quality product for the North American market.
“Both workers and management took meticulous care of their farm and investment. It was the cleanest farm I’ve ever seen from a weed perspective,” he noted. “Videxport represents a major investment in the land and its people. It was impressive to see a family of three generations all working in concert with one another.
"It’s clear the Videxport family owners are very committed to taking care of their employees, with the Fair Trade programme front and center," Morrissey added. "As a result of the tour and hospitality from the ranch owners, their family is now a welcomed part of our watermelon family.”
Videxport’s most recent worker welfare developments include an on-site health care center and improved employee housing. These benefits, along with education, childcare, and counseling, are provided at no cost to the workers. Additionally, a worker council annually votes on how they want to apply the funds generated by Fair Trade premiums to better their communities.
“Videxport is deeply invested in social responsibility and producing healthy, high-quality products,” said Corsaro. “We hope to continue to strengthen this area of our industry as we work together to increase fresh produce consumption.”