Every successful entrepreneur needs guts. So, it’s no surprise that each and every one of the entrepreneurs that have chosen to work together with Aartsen share this feature: wanting to be the very best! One company that stands out as particularly gutsy is Agrovision, a Peruvian company we would like to introduce to you.
Agrovision grows and packages fruit and vegetables in Peru and exports them to other countries (and will do so from Mexico and Morocco in the near future too). Agrovision grows blueberries, grapes, asparagus and avocados, which it supplies at times of the year when customers are unable to source these in their own countries. Advanced agricultural technology and the growing region Agrovision operates in, enable it to supply produce all year round. Its products are destined for established and upcoming global markets
like the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, China and other Asiatic and Central and South American countries.
The founders of Agrovision, Tom Snyder and Steve Magami, both have experience of running and investing in companies in which land ownership and use are key. But neither of them had any direct experience with fruit and vegetable cultivation. However, this did not stop them from making plans. Quite the opposite. Steve Magami: ‘We saw huge opportunities for blueberries and recognised that the global quality of supply was relatively poor. At the same time, we also saw an opportunity to cultivate this crop in Peru - a natural greenhouse - all year round. Wow! We realised how lucrative it could be if we were able to offer customers predictable and reliable supply of the best quality.
Different to other suppliers ‘We admire the work of many exporters in Peru and other growing regions. But the world needs better players and, to achieve this, we need to become even better growers. We have a different approach compared to other companies – and that’s part of our vision too. We want to transform the world around us. Let me give you an example: we used our vision and imagination to transform parts of the Peruvian desert into fertile arable land, to identify new and improved varieties and to help us take advantage of the huge opportunities in China, because of the huge demand for berries there.’
Initially, Agrovision started with blueberries but has now expanded its product range to include asparagus, grapes and avocados. ‘It doesn't matter what sector you’re in, you need to have guts to introduce new products. No project is ever without some level of risk. Dedication is essential too. We are aware of the risks involved but are being very cautious. We carefully weigh up every decision and listen to the good advice of the people we work with – who are the very best.’
‘We are becoming a global company. In the past, we focused more on Peru, but that’s changing now. We asked ourselves what we would need to do to be able to supply berries 52 weeks a year. Our conclusion? We need to be in Mexico to tap the American market and in Morocco for the European market. So, that’s what we did. We headed off to Mexico and Morocco, armed with the very latest, leading genetics and the best teams. Today, our organisation is well-placed to attract premium talent. We weren’t able to do this when we first started out in Peru. There are huge opportunities, which are now very quickly translating into geographic expansion.
We are currently planting raspberries and blackberries on our first 100 hectares of land in Mexico.’
China is an important growth market for Agrovision, which is where Aartsen comes in. ‘We have a very close working relationship in China and Europe, which makes Agrovision-Aartsen one of the prominent supply chains. Currently, blueberries and grapes are our most important crops in both Asia and Europe. We really value Aartsen's market knowledge of Europe and Asia and its ability to identify customers’ needs and preferences. We are achieving more sales and better prices as a result.’
Steve Magami says that Aartsen has a lot of guts too: ‘What’s a Dutch fruit and vegetable company doing in Hong Kong? How has it managed to become one of the leading players in the sector? This achievement would have been impossible without a healthy dose of guts and courage!’
'Agriculture has the capacity to change lives and land for the better, so we are doing everything
we can to make this happen.’
‘Our ambition is to expand the year-round market for berries all throughout the world. In the big existing markets, our main aim is to encourage market growth for premium blueberries, which will lift blueberries to even greater heights.
We are also setting new standards for quality and reliability. Not just when buying land but also in our ongoing commitment to innovation when cultivating, processing, growing, packaging and shipping new varieties. However, our ambition doesn’t stop with Agrovision but extends to the people who work for us and the communities in which we operate. Agriculture has the capacity to change lives and land
for the better, so we are doing everything we can to make this happen.’
Since Agrovision and Aartsen are both very ambitious organisations, they are striving to strengthen the links between them. Both see the future as very bright indeed.