HORTI+ 06: Biogrow Mexico in France, Sri Lanka & India

Quentin Gomis from Biogrow Mexico tells us about his recent trip to France, Sri Lanka and India : First stop, the South of France, where it all started, where the idea of Biogrow was born. It was a great honor and a pleasure to meet the Vila brothers, Bruno and Franck, and the whole team behind the success of the group. We visited several sites where we grow different varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers under the Rougeline brand, a brand well known in the South of France and a brand that I am familiar with since part of my family used to grow for this brand. I learned a great deal about growing vegetables in closed and semi-closed greenhouses, about all the technology behind it and the challenges growers face; from labor to energy costs. A short but very enriching visit.

And then it was off to Sri Lanka to meet with Nicolas Bourhis who did a fantastic job showing Fabrice, our commercial director, and I around. We started off our journey visiting our biggest production site where we were welcomed by the joyful and kind people that work for Biogrow Lanka and where I was able to truly understand the importance of keeping an eye on detail throughout the entire production process; from the reception of the raw material, having enough stock to produce during challenging times, mixing the raw material constantly to maintain uniformity, which of course the end customer will greatly appreciate, pressing, making the precuts, putting the finished product into bags, palletizing, etc. etc. Every part of the process has to be meticulously managed so that the growers who use our products can focus their attention on other things (weather, labor management, results), rather than battling with the problems caused by low quality substrates.

Once again I found out why Biogrow is the best option for hydroponic growers all around the world. We don’t only sell cocopeat based substrates, we sell reliability and peace of mind.

We also visited a second Sri Lankan production site where we could see the exact same quality control checks & procedures that are carried out at all Biogrow facilities. It is highly important to replicate good practice in every production site so that everything is done exactly the same. This is how we can offer the uniformity & quality guarantee that characterizes Biogrow.

Having taken an in-depth at Biogrow Lanka’s production we finished our trip by visiting some local strawberry growers in Nuwara Eliya. This was a follow-up visit to see how they were getting on using our grow bags. For me it was a first visit, but for Fabrice who had visited the same customers a few years before it was amazing to see the difference between the first time he visited and this time. This time, thanks to the technical support given by Fabrice and Nicolas, and our customers’ hard work and willingness to learn and try new things they were achieving superb results and their strawberry yields were better than ever before.

For the final leg of our trip we stopped off in Coimbatore, India where we visited three more production sites. At the main site we were shown six hydraulic machines, and a warehouse capable of holding 3000 tonnes of coco peat, enabling us to continue meeting the demands of our global partners even during the monsoon seasons. At the Biogrow Ultra site there is a new processing plant with the capacity to clean and calibrate 250 tonnes of raw material per week. With both sites now fully operational, Biogrow India can produce up to thirty containers every month of high-quality grow bags and the same amount in bales, and a project is under way to double our production capacity in the years to come.

It was an amazing experience, very similar to what we saw in Sri Lanka, but on a much larger scale. Thanks to Benjamin Blanchard for showing us every step of the process. It was fascinating to see the way the coconut husk is manipulated so that we can obtain every useful part of it to make our substrates and there is virtually zero waste.

I was already convinced that Biogrow Substrates is the best cocopeat based substrate you can get in the market, but this trip confirmed it even more.

Thanks again to everyone and I hope to see you again soon!