A different Almeria ‘agro’ model

The on demand field handling system has been a key element for ZOI.

When they designed their business model, they decided that they wanted to do things differently. Distancing themselves from what is the norm in the under plastic farming sector, leaving behind the sector’s normal circuits (alhóndigas, or auction markets, and cooperatives) to market their own produce. After a visit to their installations, Fruit Today has been able to determine that they really have achieved this: in their fourth campaign, 70% of ZOI’s volume (6 million kilos, including vine tomatoes and California peppers) is sold directly to four large European distribution chains (two German and two English), proving that the supermarket trends designed to get closer to the source are already a tangible reality (in addition to being profitable). “We are producers and marketers. Between 35-50% of our sales are programmed and the remainder we sell at the market, where we have a portfolio of over 100 active clients”, explains Adelina Salinas, founding partner of the company along with her brothers Paco and Antonio.

Winning the trust of the supermarkets and dealing with them directly is very complicated. It means having, as well as the logical quality standards, a strict control to guarantee the shipments arrive on time and correctly. And at ZOI they have overcome all of this, becoming the first company to obtain the BRC Food and IFS Food certificates for greenhouse produce. Its production area, which has a rainwater and pond collection system with a 120 million litre capacity, has a greenhouse surface of 55 hectares in a single area, interconnected through a corridor that gives access to the warehouse. For harvesting, they cut on order and clean, prepare and tie the vegetables in the fields, unloading them directly through the main ‘artery’ of the greenhouse structure. “All of this allows us to reduce the timing by around three days from the moment we cut the produce to when it reaches its destination”, Salinas explains. This care is translated into greater quality, the cornerstone of its philosophy: “for us the produce is our image and we do not speculate with it”. Amongst its next projects is the idea of doubling the cropland to meet the demand that it is experiencing. A case of success that shows that it is possible to farm differently.

 

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