Rancho Agua Blanca staff

Staff at Rancho Agua Blanca Image: Rancho Agua Blanca

Fresh produce grower-marketer Giumarra has announced a partnership with the Genel family of Rancho Agua Blanca to offer Fair Trade certified avocados grown in the state of Michoacán, Mexico.

Rancho Agua Blanca received its certification from Fair Trade USA in early 2020, with the Genel family farming 250 hectares of Fair Trade certified avocados.

“We are immensely proud to be working with the Genel family to provide high-quality, Fair Trade certified avocados to our customers and support important social and environmental initiatives in Mexico with the Fair Trade programme,” said Bruce Dowhan, senior vice-president of the Giumarra Companies.

Through this new partnership, Giumarra will offer promotable volumes of Fair Trade certified avocados from September through May every year.

Rancho Agua Blanca has had existing environmental and worker health programmes in place since the company’s inception more than 40 years ago, and In 2010 opened a local school for its employees and their children.

The group's avocados are sold at a premium and funds generated by Fair Trade product sales support community development programmes voted on by farm workers, which may include elementary and adult education, medical services, recreation, and skills training.

“The Fair Trade programme allows us to continue to serve the unique needs of each region in our community,' said Carlos Genel Valencia, member of the family board of Rancho Agua Blanca. 'Our family considers our employees more than workers; they are collaborators in our business and a vital part of our operation.

“In speaking with our family of employees, we’ve uncovered that key areas of education, health, and environment are important to them and they look forward to using fair trade funds for new and existing programmes,” he noted

“We’ve seen increased interest from retailers for Fair Trade certified avocados so we are thrilled that Giumarra has launched this programme and is expanding the supply of certified avocados in the market,” said Jesse Appelman, head of fresh goods at Fair Trade USA.

Per data from Fair Trade USA, consumer demand is growing; after being educated about what fair trade is, 63 per cent of consumers say they are more likely to seek out Fair Trade certified produce.

“Now more than ever, retailers are recognising the importance of building resilient supply chains that protect and support farm workers,” said Abby Ayers, head of retail at Fair Trade USA.

Avocados are the most recent item to join Giumarra’s Fair Trade product line from Mexico, which also includes seedless watermelon, winter squash, bell peppers, table grapes, and asparagus.