Advertorial: PROCOMER Fosters Innovation Among Guanacaste Agricultural Entrepreneurs

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How many different ways can you eat a mango? Eating it whole is undoubtedly one of the first answers, but after that, juice, marmalade and even dried fruit are among the different ways to innovate and create added value for products.

This is precisely the motivation the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) and EARTH University provided to Guanacaste agricultural companies during the Conference on Agricultural Innovation, held Oct. 20-21 at EARTH’s La Flor campus in Liberia.

The activity organized by PROCOMER brought together more than 10 companies that produce watermelons, mangoes and cantaloupe to train them in productive improvements in conjunction with EARTH. In addition, a panel of experts was offered with public and private institutions and export companies, with the goal of generating ideas to create added value for products.

We aim to create added value for our agricultural processes, which is to say our producers should leave behind the idea of the fresh product and go beyond it. Marco Alfaro, regional director of PROCOMER.

“Our producers should move away from the idea of the fresh product and go beyond it, such as by creating new merchandise with value and then placing it in a competitive and profitable financial market – not only in the Chorotega region, but also across the country,” said PROCOMER Regional Director Marco Alfaro.

The conference’s working methodology included training for agricultural business owners to help companies achieve commercial chains with other firms in the country that require the purchase of products based on these fruits.

Toward that goal, PROCOMER has a list of companies such as Hotel Playa Sombrero, Melones del Sol, Hotel Hacienda Pinilla and the National Salt Producers Cooperative, among others, which are the biggest buyers of products.

This business agreement that we have with PROCOMER aims to create greater impact and more awareness in the business community. Carlos Murillo, academic director at EARTH University.

EARTH University’s campus in Liberia led the training of entrepreneurs by the institution’s agricultural and marketing professionals.

“EARTH University is training ethical leaders across the region. The business agreement we have with PROCOMER seeks to create greater impact in the business community by promoting awareness of the processes of innovation and environmental responsibility,” said Carlos Murillo, academic director at the university.

Karina Vásquez, from the company Costeña Melon, said businesses can’t start innovating from zero, but rather should begin a learning process to successfully direct products into the market.

“The idea is to begin with small tests with some semi-products and continue incorporating them into other industries. PROCOMER provides us the ability to join this type of consultancy free of charge, which helps us clarify the panorama at an international level without having to leave the country,” Vásquez said.

The Conference on Agricultural Innovation included discussions on several subjects. Presentations were given by experts from PROCOMER, the regional office of the Agricultural and Livestock Ministry, the Environment Ministry’s Waters Department, the Development Banking System and the University of Costa Rica, represented by the National Center for Food Sciences and Technology (CITA).