Press Releases

• August 17, 2010 - Novelle Consulting Launches New Website
• August 16, 2010 - Erich Hinrichs and John Musser Join Novelle Consulting
• August 1, 2006 - Novelle Principal Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• December 20, 2005- Sonora State, Mexico Completes Phase I of Development Plan
• April 26, 2005 - PMA Addresses Consumption, Industry Trends with Retailers, Growers in Mexico
• April 18, 2005 - Novelle Assists State of Sonora in Five Year Plan
• June 3, 2004 - BC Hot House Chairman Al Vangelos Elected Russian Farm Project's Chairman of the Board

Novelle in the media

• April 22, 2009, The Packer - Vangelos named Produce Man for All Seasons
• April 10, 2006, The Produce News - Novelle Takes on Winogrond and Obregon as Two Senior Principals
• April 6, 2006, FreshPlaza - Novelle Adds Two New Senior Principals; Obregon and Winogrond
• July, 2005, Productores de Hortalizas - Agronegocios en Sonora
• May 1, 2005, The Produce News - Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

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white papers

Fairtrade
Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
Moscow Supermarket Industry
The 5-Year Agricultural Business Development Plan for Sonora, Mexico
Marketing of Horticultural Produce in Asia-From Sonora Symposium

News


From The Produce News 

Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

By John Groh, May 1, 2005 – CIUDAD OBREGON, SONORA, MEXICO - The Sonora agricultural community convened for an unprecedented summit April 19-21, here, at the Hotel Grande Valle Obregon to explore ways to better work together to promote Sonoran agriculture products on both a national and international level. 

Sponsored by the Sonoran state government and facilitated by Novelle Consulting LLC, based in Laguna Beach, CA, the symposium, entitled Agriculture in Sonora, A Business Opportunity, is part of a five-year initiative that seeks to unite growers, marketers, financial institutions, the Sonoran government and the federal government in an effort to develop a comprehensive agricultural strategy for the state of Sonora with a focus on productivity improvements, creation of a state-of-the-art supply chain infrastructure, and the establishment of technical and marketing assistance for local growers. 

The three-day session, which was attended by approximately 300 people, included speakers and panels discussions covering a range of topics, including challenges faced by local growers and a synopsis of the export opportunities available to foreign markets. Field tours to local production areas in the Yaqui and Mayo valleys as well as to the Guaymas area also were offered to attendees, as were evening activities at the Obregon Country Club and the Corona beer brewery, which provided networking opportunities. 

One highlight of the symposium was a presentation given April 20 by Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo, who challenged growers to recall their ancestry and follow the practices of their predecessors. "The Yaqui Indians produced what the market wanted, and we need to do the same," he said. "The government was not part of the [agriculture] decision-making back then. Part of our vision should be to become what we used to be." 

Sonora is dominated by cotton and grain production, and Gov. Bours urged growers to undergo a "reconversion" of their crops to vegetables and products that are more value-added and will bring more jobs to the area. He also urged growers to partner with organizations that have expertise in growing diverse crops, assuring them that government and financial institutions would offer assistance in modernizing operations, such as the construction of cooling and packing facilities. 

The governor also said that the Sonoran agriculture industry needs to have a long-term vision - a sentiment that he said is shared by Javier Usabiaga, the secretary of agriculture for Mexico. "To go on little by little is just mediocre, and Sonorans are not mediocre," said Mr. Bours. "Let's take that big leap and not just plan for now but for the long term. Let's reach for new heights." 

Mr. Bours, who comes from a prominent agricultural family, also applauded the symposium and the efforts of its organizers, saying that it is "valuable to see different ways of doing things as have been presented by the international participants of the conference." 

Francisco Obregon of Obregon & Associates Inc. in Nogales, AZ, who was one of the main organizers of the symposium and who hails from Ciudad Obregon, said that the farming community in the region was in need of a jump start, and the conference was one way to accomplish that goal. "What the growers saw during the symposium activated their enthusiasm," said Mr. Obregon. "When they saw what's in the marketplace, they saw the need to work from the consumer to the ranch, not the opposite. They need to realize what's in demand and then grow it. "The conditions are right for Sonoran agriculture," continued Mr. Obregon. "The weather is favorable, the U.S. border is just a couple of hours away, and there is a lot of skilled labor available, which makes Sonora an attractive area." 

Mr. Obregon said that with the additional emphasis on food safety, growers have come to see that it is not a value-added component but rather part of the base product. 
Mr. Obregon added, "It is the opportunity of a lifetime for [Sonoran] growers, because they have the support of government. We have a governor who is from agriculture and who has five years left in his term, so there is enough time to develop the agriculture industry. Also, the president (Vicente Fox), the secretary of agriculture (Mr. Usabiaga) and the Sonoran secretary of agriculture (Alejandro Elias Calles) are all from agriculture, so there are no 'political animals' involved in the process." 

Sonoran growers also lauded the symposium for bringing their products into the spotlight. Pablo Borquez, who grows asparagus in Sonora, Caborca and Obregon, said, "We can compete with anyone in the world" when it comes to producing quality products. Mr. Borquez applauded Gov. Bours for his effort to unify the Sonoran industry. "The governor wants to bring the perception of Sonoran agriculture up a level. He couldn't get the growers up to the U.S., so he decided to bring the U.S. industry down to Sonora. We believe in the governor, so we're all going to work hard for him." 

Regarding the symposium, Mr. Borquez said that it "surpassed our expectations. There is an atmosphere that we've never seen before. The government is enthusiastic to help see through the five-year plan. Already, the growers are asking that [the symposium] be an annual event. When the growers saw the program and that Pancho (Francisco Obregon) was involved, they really came on board." 

Roberto Gandara Sr., who grows lettuce in the Yaqui Valley, said that the symposium offered an honest and open forum for the exchange of ideas. "It was very good," he said. "The panels and speakers offered a lot of good ideas, but the key now is to make them happen." Mr. Gandara said that he has been growing produce crops for 14 years, but admitted that he still has a lot to learn, so he was happy to have the opportunity to discuss the issues with growers and members of the agriculture community from throughout North America.