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AN INTERVIEW WITH FERNANDO WONG OF SUNSHINE FARMS OF PERU ...










Hi, I'm Fernando of Sunshine Farms






Sunshine Farms is a modern mango and avocado export company located in the province of Piura in the northwest of Peru. 



A coastal region, Piura’s name comes from the Quechua word pirhua, whose approximate meaning is "supply base", due to the fact that the area was used by the Incas as a stop to get provisions during their conquest of the region’s original inhabitants. 


Currently, the Piura region supplies many tropical products to (inter)national markets.

In 1985 we started our exporting ‘adventure’, operating a business unknown to the family and the fruit producers in the country. 


Nowadays Sunshine is one of the largest export companies of fresh produce in Peru.



Over 300 mango producers spread throughout the northwest of Peru work with Sunshine. The Piura region has many climate variations due to its geographical location. You have the coast which is divided by the Peruvian subtropical desert of Sechura in the south and bush-like savanna tropical-dry forests to the centre and north of the region. Furthermore, there are also many small tropical valleys where rice and coconuts are commonly cultivated. 



The generally dry conditions of the Piura region are very good for organic mango production, since fungus for example has less chance in a dry climate. The combination of the dry climate and the spreading of mango producers over the region gives us the possibility to lengthen the export season of mangoes.

As mentioned we work with a large number of producers including large, medium and small operations. To all our producers, we offer technical assistance and constant monitoring of the orchards.


We also connect our producers to the international markets and international standards. Most of the smaller producers are not financially strong enough to increase productivity and product quality in the orchards. 


If the situation is right we often encourage them to start converting to organic production, offer them funding for improvements in the fields, and provide them with technical assistance, enabling theseproducers to achieve excellent harvests.



Interview



N&M How do you motivate the people to produce organic mangoes and export them.


Don Fernando: “Soy un jugador por naturaleza”. I am a pioneer in Peru in exporting organic mangoes. There was little information available about organic mango production in Peru. This production method is very intensive and requires experience and knowledge. 


Pest and disease control were difficult, and we had to research everything about post harvest handling. But by trial and error we became skilled. We also did a lot of research on the possibilities in the international market and investigated the yield of organic mango production. Without this knowledge we could never have recommended to other producers to start converting their production.

We are now able to produce beautiful organic mangoes. We have access to the international organic markets and we know that organic products are good for the people and the environment, and a good business.





N&M: And what do you expect from the export of organic mangoes in the next 5 years? Do you think the organic section of Sunshine will expand?

Don Fernando: In the last few years, the export of organic products has grown enormously. We at Sunshine are convinced that the growth will continue. So we decided to start a project with small mango producers: an association of 365 small mango producers with a total of 800 hamangoes in conversion. This is a way to give small producers access to the international market and to increase the percentage of organicmango export from Sunshine.





N&M: How do you practically assist the small producers?

Don Fernando: We give technical assistance in the field and advice on the organic production during the year. We assist during the harvest period with product selection and post harvest handling. The conversion to organic production and the assistance in product quality give this group of small producers the possibility to comply with international food standards and to enter the international market with a premium quality product which will be certified organic. 




In addition, we investigated many other possibilities, for instance processing individual quick frozen. This system gives us the possibility to freeze the mangoes that cannot be sold at that moment. This frozen product gives us new opportunities in the market..




Freedom

Freedom

Individual development and empowerment lead to freedom which is the basis for all progress. 





Solidarity

Solidarity

In an effort to assist subsistance growers in the Piura region, Sunshine has invested a lot in capacity building. 

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