An institute for innovation development and knowledge transfer for the berries sector will be launched in San Rafael Coapa, a village located in Michoacan, Mexico, on Wednesday (9 March).
The Koppert Development Institute (KDI) was created by Koppert Biological Systems, the Koppert-Rapel Research and Training Centre (Ceickor), Ceickor University and the Arcum Group, joining forces to intensify their commitment to develop agriculture in Mexico – this time, with a focus on berries.
Rigoberto Bueno Partida, general manager of Koppert Mexico, said that there was a need to professionalise the sector in order to achieve higher profits in production.
"To this end, Koppert and its allies have created the first institute for innovation development and knowledge transfer focused solely on berries," he explained. "With the constant synergy of these four players, KDI Berries is looking for one legitimate aspiration: to be the development and innovation transfer platform in the berries market together with their partners."
More than 30 production hectares have been divided into four crops (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry) in both hydroponic and conventional systems for the KDI to develop technology validation tests.
"In addition, systems for quality management and continuous improvement process standardisation are being developed," Partida continued. "In this way, KDI Berries can implement the most innovative practices to sow more efficient and productive crops."
KDI Berries will perform a number of activities, including advisory and consulting for Driscoll's producers, sustainable production of crops, free of pesticides and organic production, agronomic management and hydroponics, improved quality and productivity, and research and development.
"The opening of this new research institute is a great opportunity to boost the promising future of the berries market in Mexico," Partida added. "It also reaffirms Koppert’s commitment to work in partnership with nature."
In recent years, the berry market in Mexico has grown exponentially, reaching double digits in production growth. Mexico is the fourth-largest berry producer globally and constitutes 7.9 per cent of worldwide production. In addition, the sector generates more than 160,000 jobs.
Ed Moerman of Koppert Biological Systems is due to speak about innovation in berry production at this year's Global Berry Congress – to register, visit www.berrycongress.com