Construction is underway near Barberena, Guatemala, where Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm is building 3.6 hectares (almost 9 acres) of state-of-the-art greenhouses to bring its stock and cuttings farm closer to the U.S. market. Danziger began planning construction in March 2013 and broke ground in September 2013, at the site located southeast of Guatemala City.
Chanochi Zaks, Danziger’s vice president of marketing, says the farm is scheduled to complete construction of phase one in February 2014. Phase two of construction is another 3.6 hectares, which will be built depending on circumstances of the market. The total area available for Danziger to build on long term is up to 15 hectares (37 acres).
Zaks says increasing demand for the breeder’s products and the need to improve quality and service to the U.S. market are the main reasons Danziger decided to build a farm in Guatemala. Here, he provides Greenhouse Grower a glimpse into Danziger’s new facilities and the company’s future.
Greenhouse Grower: Please tell us about the facilities you are building in Guatemala.
Chanochi Zaks: The greenhouses are state-of-the-art, improved Israeli technology, polyethylene closed-roof greenhouses, with no glass. They were manufactured by Azrom, an Israeli company. We bought the greenhouses in Israel and had a local company put them up. Each bay is 11.2 meters wide, and all mother plants are grown on detached mediums on raised growing benches.
The operation contains irrigation systems and automation equipment of the highest level, including NaanDanJain irrigation systems from Israel and Gavish irrigation software. Very strict sanitation regulations will be followed, with double doors, raised benches, insect-proof nets, suitable clothing and disinfestation rules. Danziger will maintain the highest standard possible.
GG: Why did Danziger decide to build in Guatemala?
Zaks: In addition to expanding the assortment of products that we breed in different areas, the demand for Danziger products has been rising constantly, as well. Danziger has been selling cuttings from Israel and from our production site in Kenya for many years, and the company came to the decision that we need to be closer to the market. Therefore, instead of sending cuttings from Israel and Kenya to North America, we decided to set up a production site in Central America and provide the rising demand for Danziger products.
GG: What do you plan to grow there? What markets will you serve?
Zaks: Danziger will produce in Guatemala the entire range of our annuals and perennials featured in our catalog, as well as plants of the company’s cut-flower range, including gypsophila and chrysanthemums for the Central American market.
GG: When will your cuttings/plants grown in Guatemala be available to U.S. growers?
Zaks: From approximately week 5 this season, we will start sending on an experimental basis to the market and continue at an increasing rate. The goal is to provide the entire market with cuttings from Danziger Guatemala, starting from July 2014 and the 2014/2015 season.
GG: What are the opportunities currently available for Danziger with this new facility?
Zaks: Favorable conditions of Guatemala and proximity to the market will create a situation in which we are accessible, with improved quality and better service than we had from Israel and Kenya. Additionally:
- Danziger is strong in the cut-flower field, and can exploit Danziger Guatemala to provide propagation material for cut-flowers to South and Central America.
- For products that are sensitive to long distance transport conditions, we can produce cuttings in Guatemala and offer better quality to customers.
- We can take on summer products to produce year-round and increase our product range.
- A number of companies have already approached us to grow private stock and in the event we have space available, we will certainly consider this positively.
GG: Anything that you’d like to add?
Zaks: The main purpose of Danziger Guatemala is to improve the quality and customer service. Of course, improvement will increase sales, and it will be a place in which stocks will be available of Danziger’s entire range of products. The licensee policy goes unchanged and Danziger continues to support our licensees. We are loyal to our customers and our licensees.