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AMHPAC to hold fourth annual convention

Formed in 2007, the Associación Mexicana de Horticultura Protegida A.C., headquartered in Culiacan, Sinaloa, and better known by its acronym AMHPAC, is scheduled to hold its fourth annual convention Aug. 24-26 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

The theme of the convention is “Mexico as the continent’s premier vegetable supplier,” according to an official written announcement of the event furnished by AMHPAC to The Produce News. “We expect participation from more than 300 individuals and companies, including grower-packer-shippers, retailers, produce buyers, distributors, marketing experts, technology and quality experts, suppliers, government officials, researchers and academia.”

Attendees will come from throughout North America as well as Europe and other parts of the world.

“During our convention, we will review the business and productive strategies we use as industry experts to be ‘suppliers of significance’ 12 months a year,” the announcement stated.

A general membership meeting will be held the first day of the convention, on Wednesday, Aug. 24. That meeting “will define the actions and responsibilities of the association for 2011-2012,” according to the announcement.

A business session will be held Aug. 25, which “will serve to review and analyze the supply points [and] standards and allow us to define and differentiate the quality, food safety and security of protected Mexican vegetables.”

On Aug. 26, a technical convention “will review current technological breakthroughs and review and discuss the incorporation of ‘best production practices’ that allow us to be the global leaders of protected horticulture,” the announcement stated.

Convention speakers will include industry experts from Mexico, the United States, Spain, Holland and England.

AMHPAC Chief Executive Officer Eric Viramontes told The Produce News June 8 that the convention “has several objectives. The first objective, and I think the most valuable one,” is that the convention provides a time and place for “the whole industry of protected agriculture to gather and have an open and friendly conversation about what happened in the season past, what we need to work on, and what are the challenges that we face for the coming season.”

It is “a really great event because this is a place where we have most of the decision-makers of this industry attending,” and participants “are able to see them face to face and on a very personal level,” he said. “This is a convention where the growers do attend. These are the owners of the shipping associations that are supplying close to 80 percent of the vegetables to the United States and Canada, so this is a great place to really get to know the personal side of the Mexican greenhouse industry.”

Mexico is “a privileged country in terms of climate, in terms of our geographic conditions,” Mr. Viramontes said. “We have been learning and improving during the last 70 years to become better growers — and to become the best growers. Our growers are third and fourth generation” and have been “learning and improving this activity with the use of all the technologies available.”

During the 30 years since protected agriculture technology first came to Mexico, he said, “We have been seeing all technologies from all over the world. We have been testing them. We have been learning from them, and right now we are in a position that we know how to use the technology to the consumer’s advantage. We know how to produce a great, clean and safe product with the volume and quality that the market demands.”