Hydroponics to achieve more in a Sustainable way; Conversation with Raúl Mercado Producer Blueberries Sinaloa, MX & co-founder DIDIHU ®
Coming from a family tradition dedicated to the agricultural industry could be an invitation to do more of the same, but not for Raúl Mercado, co-founder of DIDIHU®For him, being the third generation involved in agriculture is about evolving, as the world's needs continue to change and producing more with less in a sustainable way is, without a doubt, an obligation.
After exploring by ten years opportunities and markets in China, Raúl returned to his native Sinaloa, Mexico, to begin the sowing blueberries together with a business of agricultural inputs; but now with a very different vision of what I needed to do: implement the AgTech for hydroponics.
“I wanted to turn the family farming business around: migrating from grains such as beans, corn and chickpeas, to venture into highly technical blueberries in hydroponics. With the input business I acquired a lot of knowledge in innovation to be able to sow in wasted and not very fertile land. Technology was an opportunity to be more efficient, regardless of the space, "he says.
The water challenge
One of the greatest challenges that exist in the world is what led Raúl to focus on the Hydroponics: Given the inefficiency and global warming, the scarcity of water is at alarming levels worldwide.
In 2020 FAO noted that 3,200 million of people live
in agricultural areas with high levels of water scarcity.
And only in Mexico, the water available for irrigation has decreased by approximately 30% in the last year, according to Conagua.
An open mind
With this challenge, comes the one that Raúl considers the greatest: the climate change. So what do we do to confront them? For Raúl, the answer is simple: keep an open mind today.
"We must have a very open mind to try and change how things are being done. The problems evolved and we must implement technologies in hydroponics that safeguard our investments ”, he says.
And it is that the benefits of hydroponics are evident: the average density in soil ranges from 3,500 to 5,000 plants per hectare, while in hydroponics (pots) there are points that have 12,500 plants per hectare. In addition, it saves between 50% and 70% of water, a great success in the face of the scarcity problem.
AGTECH in hydroponics
Thus, berries continue to strengthen and with the pandemic consumers are more demanding with quality. And if we add that the US has lost competitiveness due to its limited labor force and in central Mexico there are no longer any plots to plant blueberries or they are small, this is where the hydroponics highlights: allows to achieve more density in land not suitable for sowing, with fruit of extraordinary quality.
Raúl advises that those who are interested in implementing this technology, first talk with those who already work with hydroponics so that they know the good and bad practices they have had and that their learning curve is faster.
"It is urgent to migrate because there is an increasing need for food, so, I repeat, we need to do more with less," he emphasizes.
Farmer Technology for Farmers
Driven by that premise and hand in hand with numerous investigations and experience that Raúl acquired in international trade decided design and manufacture your own products, this is how DIDIHU® was born, with which have technified more than 2,500 HA in the US, Colombia, China, Peru and practically in all blueberry producing areas of Mexico.
The fact that they are farmers themselves is what has differentiated DIDIHU®, because they understand first-hand the need and problems experienced by each of their clients or, as Raúl prefers to call them, their friends.
For Raúl, the goal is clear: “my vision is to promote the movement of the sustainable agriculture, give access to AgTech in hydroponics to every agricultural region of the world and help as many farmers to produce more with less in a sustainable way. It is a life mission worth fighting for ”.
Previous articleJorge Valenzuela, Fedefruta: "In the water issue, we have not done anything long-term strategic as a country"