The partnership between Danone and Grupo Altex called 'Madre Tierra' will be based in Maravatío in the region of Michoacán where the companies will introduce sustainable farming practices and a regenerative agriculture model to a group of 16 local strawberry farmers.
By 2023, Danone aims to have half of its strawberry supply -- 9,000 tons-- come from farmers within the 'Madre Tierra' program in Mexico. Currently, Danone is able to supply roughly a quarter of its own strawberries and imports the rest from other regions such as Morocco.
“Agriculture is a fundamental part of who we are and what we do every day, and we know that the situation in the Mexican countryside have undergone changes in recent years. This is why companies like us [need to] transform our business models by putting local communities and ecosystem protection at the center, creating stronger value chains and a sustainable future for all," said Fabrice Salamanca, Danone vice president of corporate affairs .
Madre Tierra ambitions
José Avalos, general director of Grupo Altex, explained that the Madre Tierra program will significantly increase the productivity of small strawberry producers enrolled in the initiative and guarantee a market for their crop for future years.
Danone stated that Madre Tierra encourages small producers to become "formal agricultural entrepreneurs" by incorporating regenerative agriculture models, water conservation practices, better management of chemicals to ensure international food safety standards.
“Madre Tierra guarantees the integration of training, transfer of best agro-industrial practices, state-of-the-art technology and access to capital to create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem, ” he said.
The Madre Tierra program is funded by a roughly US$2.25 private investment through 2022 and Danone aims to add 140 small producers to Madre Tierra, which the company says will increase farmers' net income by 30%.
Don Isidro Ramírez, an agricultural entrepreneur enrolled in the Madre Tierra program, commented that the Madre Tierra program "guarantees fair marketing, training to adopt practices to conserve healthy soil life, efficiently use water and handle agrochemicals... [and] gives us the possibility of generate employment and boost the economy of our region."
Ramirez added that Madre Tierra is "wonderful news" for Maravatío farmers as it creates more jobs "so that people do not have to migrate to the United States in search of a better quality of life."