The Superfruit Company, Mexico
DefinitionDevising project idea, defining the aim and main components
DesignSpecifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
FinancingSearching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
ImplementationExecution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
MaintenanceOperational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
Scaling UpScaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.
The Superfruit Company produces different types of super fruits with their main crop being the local dragonfruit. They own a dragon fruit orchard and work with growers community, located at the very heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, between the cities of Valladolid and Tizimin. Despite dragon fruit being a native crop, the community of growers is full of indigenous knowledge but lacks a few practices that will allow them to market their fruit properly.
Low revenue leads to low resources, low resources leads to poor management, leading growers straight into a cashflow trap that impacts directly their economy and livelihood. They want to change that by helping them establish regenerative agriculture practices that will help them deliver top quality. Once there, they’ll help them market their fruit at fair prices in top-paying markets. Their core believe is that a smooth integration of the value chain brings top value to the table.
Growing ‘superfruit’ farmers
The farm has 22 employees and will reach 80 when the 80 ha are established (average head-count is 1 employee per ha) – all of the farmworkers are local indigenous people speaking Mayan as their first language. As for the 3rd party growers, they are currently working with 9 local growers. The region has a community of 2,500 growers that make up 1,500 ha.
Demonstrating traditional practices
The original indigenous production model was an agroforestry setup of a native tree called Chaka that served as a tutor for the dragon fruit. The word of mouth is that Chaka and cover crops are now believed to be potential liabilities because they tend to “bring pests” and “compete for nutrients”. The modern setup is switching to concrete posts, use of herbicides for maintaining zero cover crops, and synthetic fertilizers for a nutrition program.
Together with reNature they will find a setup for demonstrating to dragon fruit growers the benefits of agroforestry and the use of cover crops in a whole systems approach.
Building on indigenous ethic
The Mayan indigenous work ethic is impeccable, they are honest hard workers that apply their best to anything they do, but a fragmented value chain is leaving them with a fraction of the potential revenue they could achieve, not allowing them to escape the poverty line. The project wants to help them correct those details and serve as a value chain integrator that will bring top prices to their tables. Increased revenue will impact their livelihood directly, while regenerative practices will impact their life quality and well-being.
The community of growers is very well communicated. Success stories will spread rapidly, the pace at which the whole industry can be disrupted could really be surprising. Within five years the region could become the leading supplier of export quality dragon fruit to the US, Canada, and Europe.