In the past several years, Aguascalientes’ soil conditions and the commercial viability of several crops have been the subject of serious research. These studies, along with the relationship between universities and producers, could result in high profits for the state.
The present administration’s productive reconversion strategy has made it possible for producers to grow twelve new products—already sold in Mexico—in over 1.5 thousand hectares across the state.
Fig is one of these new local products. The Productive Reconversion Program has helped boost fig-growing with twenty-two local producers. A surface of 15 hectares is being used to grow the fruit, and sixty percent of the land has already yielded its first harvest.
Héctor Guillermo de Anda, owner of Rancho Mitawa and director of its namesake brand, is one of the most prominent fig producers. After forty-five years devoted to milk production, de Anda decided to transform both his ranch and its business model. He bet for a product that was new to the local marketplace and demonstrated a great potential for growth. He started growing fig thanks to the support obtained by the Department of Rural and Agribusiness Development (SEDRAE).
At first, a $750 thousand investment was made for two hectares. SEDRAE cooparticipated with the installation of a macro tunnel and with the plants. Since June, a total of three tons have been produced, which they have managed to sell in the “California Fruit Stores” and large fruit markets.
“We went for fig because it was not a product native to Aguascalientes, we wanted to become pioneers. Our research showed that local land has a great capacity to successfully grow this fruit, which needs lots of sun but a minimum of water. In our second year, we verified for ourselves the quality of the state’s soil and the adequate weather to grow fig”.
De Anda mentions his advances in fig production have been excellent because they are backed up by SEDRAE to guarantee the quality of their product.
Only organic products are grown at Rancho Mitawa to follow the agribusiness megatrend. Besides this, the plant is protected with a ground cover system, a technology that prevents the proliferation of weeds and helps obtain a completely clean product.
A fig produced here has an average weight of 1.37 oz, but there has been fig weighing as much as 2.11 oz. According to de Anda, the objective is producing a fruit of at least 1.58 oz, which is one of the main requirements for export.
Rancho Mitawa will end 2020 with a production of almost 5 tons. Most of it will be sold in Aguascalientes and the rest will be commercialized, with an added value, as marmalade, pie, and cookies in Mexico City, San Luis Potosí, and Monterrey.