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Diazteca experiencing rapid, consistent growth

Diazteca, a major grower-exporter of Mexican mangos, has enjoyed annual growth of 20 percent over the last eight years, according to Rod Diaz.

Diaz, head of sales and marketing for the 61-year old family operation, said “the company structure is solid to be able to last so long. Many people are involved; many brains. The company is designed to prevail over time.” Rod-Diaz-familyIn a Diazteca packinghouse last July were Rod Diaz with his family, including his wife Laura, and his mother-in-law, children and a family friend.

Today Diazteca is run by Diaz and his brothers Ishmael and Luis, and three of their cousins.

The Diaz family’s agricultural business has seen a great deal of change over time, but Diazteca started in the 1970s as a mango grower. Diazteca’s website indicates that, in the early 1980s, the firm constructed its first mango packingshed. Today, Diazteca grows more than 2,000 acres of mangos, 200 acres of hot peppers, farms 150 acres of shrimp and freezes and exports more than 1 million pounds of shrimp a year. In addition, Diazteca represents Mexican cane sugar mills with more than 50,000 acres of cane sugar fields.

The company is primarily growing through the expansion of mango acreage. The firm has also expanded into avocado and pineapple production. “Quality begins in the field,” Diaz said. “It takes time, effort and money.”

In 2015 Diazteca began planting pineapples in Isla, a city in southern Veracruz. In 2017 Diazteca started working with EBeam, a service supplier with facilities in Mexico, to apply electronic radiation to some mangos exported to the United States. Diaz likens the EBeam process to using a microwave. Used to meet USDA phytosanitary regulations, the radiation disinfests mangos as an alternative to hot water treatment, which many believe has a negative effect on flavor.

Food irradiation has for decades been approved as safe for consumers, but the concept has been resisted by the public because the name sounds ominous.

Diaz said the radiation process extends mango shelf life by two to four weeks. “If the improved flavor with the consumers is accepted, [those mangos are] expected to sell for higher prices.” Without the hot water involved, “you can harvest riper fruit,” he added.

The downside of electronic radiation is that it is very expensive — especially the package. The USDA requires net-covered holes — about an inch in diameter — in the shipping cartons, and these customized packages are pricey.

Diaz said Diazteca would be receiving, on average, about six loads of mangos per week from Peru into March. Diazteca will have no gap between its Peruvian and Mexican mango volume. A small volume of Ataulfos from Chiapas is expected in mid-February, blending into Atualfos from Oaxaca in the first week of March. Diaz said Costa Rican and Guatemalan mangos should have a market presence late this winter, leaving no gap between Peru and Mexico.

“In the past we were all by ourselves in February. There will be no gaps this February,” he said.