Interview: Rosario Antonio Beltrán Ureta

“All my life I been in the grower business”


Rosario Antonio Beltrán Ureta, it’s the founder and CEO of Agricola Belher. Eng. Beltrán is a grower with a wide trajectory in this industry, who has always been very involved in the positioning of the agricultural sector, has been an active participant in several agricultural organisms; He is currently the President of the Commission for Research and Defense of Vegetables (CIDH), President of the Mexican Business Council of Foreign Trade of Sinaloa (COMCE), President of the National Committee of the Tomato Product System and member of the Board of Directors of Eleven Rivers Growers.

In this interview Eng. Beltran tells us how his whole life has been involved with agriculture, started working with his father in the family farm business and after a few years founded Belher.


  1. Could you share a brief history of Belher?

I Found Agricola Belher in 1979, which is a company dedicated to agriculture, we have specialized in the production high quality fresh tomatoes that we export mainly to North America.


  1. What are the main varieties that Belher grows?

The main products of our company are round, roma and intense tomatoes; we have two production centers in Mexico, both strategically located in the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco, regions that allow us to produce fresh tomatoes every day of the year.


  1. How many employees work in Belher?

We have 133 based personnel and 1,500 seasonal workers. We have migrant farm workers from different states of Mexico: Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz mainly.


  1. How did you start your relationship with Eleven Rivers Growers?

Belher has worked with Eleven Rivers since the program was created, following the Salmonella outbreak in 2008 in the United States, which affected tomato exports in Sinaloa. Therefore, we saw the need to do something in the state; form an organization such as Eleven Rivers Growers, to protect and improve state farming practices. Above all, to protect our exports, to avoid that there were new outbreaks and to improve our food safety controls, this has now become a top-level issue for this industry.


  1. How has the company benefited from working with Eleven Rivers Growers?

We have benefited completely, we have improved considerably the operation of our company in our day-to-day processes, Eleven Rivers Growers has helped us in a comprehensive way, since the five axes reviewed by this Certification Scheme are very complete. Since obtaining this certification we have noticed several improvements in our operations.

Our company counts on diverse commercial certifications and recognitions in food safety and social responsibility, one of the benefits that we observe on the part of Eleven Rivers Growers Certification Scheme is the constancy, in other certifications the audits are once a year and sometimes we could be working to approve a certification on an annual basis and neglect some processes in the daily operation.

The difference with Eleven Rivers is the weekly verification that keeps us up-to-date, constantly improving our processes together with the technical staff of the company, this has managed to change the work culture of our organization, where people stop prepare for the audit to a commitment to day-to-day compliance. I think it’s one of the most important contributions we’ve had with Eleven Rivers.

In addition to the benefits to our company, I believe that having Eleven Rivers Growers has been very important for the entire agricultural sector of Sinaloa, as certified companies increase, the benefit is generally as it improves food safety throughout the State, especially in the companies that are affiliated to the Confederation of Agricultural Associations of the State of Sinaloa (CAADES) in a measurable way.


  1. Could you tell me what aspects are being reviewed by Eleven Rivers Growers in your farm?

In all processes, in all areas is Eleven Rivers Growers: it is in the certification, in the nurseries, in the packing, in the field, in the administration; everywhere. One of the aspects in which this certification works is the quality of processes, where it involves the quality of the documentation and the standardization of all the processes of the company, which has helped us a lot to have the information clear and available in any moment when necessary. It is a culture of being orderly, clean and having a healthy, safe and tasty product with which anyone can be fed.


  1. Would you recommend Eleven Rivers, and why?

Of course I would recommend it, because within companies it is very important to be certified. It is important to have food safety at its best. Eleven Rivers is a mechanism that helps us a lot and especially with the professionalism that has been handled. They are very professional and it is a good product to have. I believe who’s not interested in this theme, is because it is not in the play. I consider this certification scheme has the highest standards required by both the market and the authorities.

We hope to achieve recognition at the international level; is one of the objetives. Currently there are many certifications out there, but no one offers, what Eleven Rivers Growers offers, especially being working day by day, and supporting our technical team in its operation. Normally, the certifiers come and they do the audit and they go away, they return to the month, they make an audit to you and you put to work three days before. And you just pass the audit for passing it and not as a company culture, working the way we work with Eleven Rivers.

We are very pleased with Eleven Rivers and I think we made a good decision to form it.