Interview: Carlos Morales of Agricola Belher


Carlos Jose Morales Topete a man with many years of experience, receive us enthusiastically at his office in La Palma Navolato.

Originally from Mexico City, Mr. Carlos Morales Agronomist by profession, graduated from the “Escuela Nacional de Agricultura en Chapingo” University, after working in most of the country, as we mentioned in this interview, is now Adviser to the General Management of “Agricola Belher”.

1. Could you tell us a little about your professional experience?
Sure, I graduated from University in 1967, my first job was at “Secretaría de Recursos Hidráulicos” (SRH) in Tamaulipas and then I worked in banks. Later I worked in the” Secretaría de Agricultura” (SAGARPA), first as General Director of Agriculture, later as Executive Member of the INIFAP.

My main experience has been in the financial, administrative and organizational part.
All my professional work was at Mexico city, but because of the nature of the charges I assumed, I lived in different states of the Country.

2. How was you started to work at ” Agricola Belher”?
I decided come to Culiacan in 2009 and I started supporting Dora Isabel Ochoa, the Human Resources Manager. We did some things together, especially remodeling the shelters in the Company. Thereafter, Antonio Beltran the General Manager invited me to participate as their assessor. Actually, after almost six years I have worked as his personal adviser, particularly in the administrative and organizational part of the Agricultural.

3. How is a working day in the life of Engineer Carlos Morales?
I have some established routines, every week I elaborate reports that I present to the General Management. For example, some controls to know how are the behavior of the turnover in agriculture.
This has given us some very interesting indicators, for example, we now know that the return of temporary staff is about 80%, and many of the workers that have worked previous seasons in the company returned, which is very important to us because they are already trained in the different processes of development of tomato.
We have other indicators related to labor efficiency, for example, we have calculated that about 10% of workers don’t realize their activities. That allows us to previse these deficiencies and have some extra staff to cover it. My job is first of all to analyze the information and concentrate, to submit reports to CEO. So my daily activity is almost that, collect data, summarize and make reports to enable interpretation.
Additionally, we have designed a bimestrial bulletin for internal communication named “Tomate Parlanchín” .

4. What do you consider are the key factors in agriculture to gain acceptance and market positioning?
Well, I think we have live a very clear example. We have several certifications of many types and finally, what does the market acceptance of product is quality, uniformity and consistency of the final product.
Year after year this occurred on market, this cycle is a process that promotes the continuous improvement, so that the final product you give to the consumer, have the confidence that exists behind, a process of good practices in field and packing .

5. What is the role of food safety in the agricultural sector?

Well, I think that today has become the most important factor of production. Today food safety is everywhere and all the growers are concerned about improving their food safety processes to reach their final products with the best quality at the market. As I said before, I think that is a basic factor for the market positioning.

6. How was the process of Agricola Eleven Rivers Belher for certification?
It’s a very interesting story that worth telling. The first year we implemented the scheme Eleven Rivers in our company, all processes depended on the Management of Human Resources, so I live it very closely, because we are at the same office.
Actually we thought it was similar to others certifications that we had already been certified; however, when the audit concluded, they make us many observations, and then I take the lead.
I gave myself the task of taking all these observations, organize, divide by area and get very specific goals to address them; We were successful and achieved certification. Eleven Rivers audit left us a very important lesson.
We learned that the certification doesn´t mean just resolve the indicators, it is a culture that must exist within the company and through Eleven Rivers, we obtained it. This culture must be applied consistently, not to respond to an audit, it is to look after quality as a company.

7. How have incorporated the requirements of the Eleven Rivers Certification to the daily work of the company?
We derive a series of actions, because I think the Eleven Rivers scheme is the most complete of all the certifications we have, as well as all the certification schemes we know. Eleven Rivers is the one that covers all areas of the company in its 5 axes.

So what we did was divide and classify these indicators by area. Then they were enriched, because there were some aspects of other certifications, which did not include the first version of Eleven Rivers. That was how we managed to have our own scheme. We audit weekly and every area receives a score by this oversight. Every month we make a concentrate to visualize how the areas evolve through continuous improvement.
Today, all that has to do with certification processes, has gone to a specialized management that was created for this.

8. How workers took all these changes and improvements?
I think getting better at first because, of course, they were reviewed and nobody likes it at first, but I think that changes, workers will know why and for what it is.
When we achieved it all the workers was proud and then they create that culture, to do things well every day.
Simultaneously, we have established policies and procedures and so, step by step, is permeating the responsibility at all levels of the company. We still have this process of continuous improvement and it is important, never going to end, there is always something to do and to improve.

9. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love being in the office, and because of my age I cannot do a lot of activities, but I’ve learned to use the computer, I like to create, reinvent things, being in a dynamic process of growth and continuous improvement I enjoy when we achieve something positive in what we do.

10. Anything else you want to add?
Thanks Eleven Rivers for this opportunity to tell our story and thank my bosses, both Antonio Beltran the General Manager, as Rosario Antonio Beltran, our CEO.
I am very happy working with them is a great opportunity that I see as the successful closing of my career.

By: Eleven Rivers