Interview: José Maria Pablos Ritz, Director of Agroexportadora del Noroeste.


José María Pablos Ritz is the director of the family company Agroexportadora del Noroeste, S.A. de C.V. located in Villa General Angel Flores, Navolato, Sinaloa.

As part of the fourth generation of this growers company José María took the leading roll in 1998 to run the family business. The mission of Agroexportadora is to be a leading horticultural company in production, packaging and marketing of healthy products of the highest quality for national and international market.


1. ¿Could you tell us how Agroexportadora initiates into the horticultural sector?

In early 1921 Mr. Jose Maria Pablos E. assisted in building the first irrigation canal in the state of Sinaloa and late 1923began the first plantings of corn and chickpea. Mr. Pablos was a founding member of Association of Farmers of Rio Culiacan (AARC).

Around 1948 Mr. Armando G. Pablos O. joined the company. He gave the spin of growing fresh vegetables such as peppers; squash and tomatoes under the “rich” label, by the late 50´s began with the export of these products and formed the first company in association with a US citizen for the distribution of these vegetables. At 1970 the company managed 700 hectares with different products, highlighting vine ripe round tomatoes under “Torero” label and cherry tomatoes under “Rich” label.

In 1972, Jose Maria Gonzalez Pablos, agronomist graduate of Technologic of Monterrey, joined the business and establish a partnership with Mr. Bob Horvath of S&H Packing Company of Nogales, Az. Witch last 13 years, having two operations, one in Angostura growing green tomatoes and Italian squashes, and another in the Culiacan valley with round tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers. In 1986 they made a new partnership with Meyer Tomatoes and exported green tomatoes for 4 years. In this period we start working with new techniques of drip irrigation and plastic mulching.

With the arrival to the business of the fourth generation with me as the Director we gave the business a new vision with the use of high technology in electronic packaging, taking care of the details to give our consumers the reliable to buy the more high quality products in all aspects.


2. ¿What are the main varieties that you produce?

We are one of the leading producers of tomato in this area. We have three production areas in Mexico: Sinaloa, Baja California Sur and Coahuila. We produce tomato and cucumber slicer; however, our main product is the tomato.


3. ¿What percentage of your production is exported in a year and what are the main destinies?

 The mayor part of our production is exported, about 80% is for the US market and approximately another 10% is to Canada market leaving the rest national market.


4. ¿How you start the relationship whit the Eleven Rivers program?

 Our company was one of the pioneers in the development of the Eleven Rivers program, we were part of the board of the Commission of research and defend of vegetables in Sinaloa (CIDH) back in 2009 when we realize the importance of this project: to create an organization that would allow us to distinguish the Sinaloa production of the rest of Mexico. Currently we continue as part of the Board of Eleven Rivers Growers.

Since the year 2010 starts the participation of our company in the Eleven Rivers Certification Scheme and on 31 May we received the Eleven Rivers Certificate after obtaining the approval of conformity by the certification organization NSF Mexico.


5. ¿How you have been benefited from the Eleven Rivers Certification Program?

In my personal experience I believe that working with a certification as Eleven Rivers greatly benefits internally management to improve in all organizational aspects, it supports us to create a comprehensive vision with all who are part of the team as it supports what is necessary to satisfy our customers.

The mayor tool provided to us by Eleven Rivers is information, because sometimes the producers we focus a lot on the operation of our business and Eleven Rivers supports us to know the updates that exist in the sector, the major changes and major demands of our customers for safer products for which they provide us support to continue adapting and exploring the best practices to provide a safer product with emphasis on: Safety, Traceability and Social Responsibility.


6. ¿Would you recommend the Eleven Rivers program to other growers?

 I highly recommend this certification program to other producers, and even recommend it when I have the opportunity or when any other producer is about to ask me, I believe that this program can help us differentiate the production of our region and be pioneers on food safety and social responsibility.

In our experience Eleven Rivers has given us much more certainty and more confidence about the operation of our business.