Divine Flavor preparing for summer programs during pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping across the U.S. and spreading through various parts of the world, Divine Flavor and its growing locations in Mexico have been executing major precautions at all its ranches as many of the summer programs are set to begin in the coming weeks.
Viva Organica, the company’s producer of organic specialty crop, has already started building additional medical facilities as well as hiring more medical professionals to be available 24/7 as the company aims to dedicate a safe and healthy work environment for all its staff.
As we approach the first week of May, Mexico has reported nearly 20,000 cases of COVID-19, where as its neighbor, the U.S., has just crossed the million mark of infections, so far. Mexican health officials have already started implementing social distancing guidelines through the country, but they anticipate more spread of the virus in the coming weeks. Although mitigation throughout Mexico started late last month, Divine Flavor producers have been taking precautions since news broke in the U.S. earlier in March.
“Between all the growing locations at Viva Organica, we have over 2,000 employees and it my responsibility to not only provide safe working conditions, but also to make sure all employees feel safe and healthy during these times of uncertainty,” said David Bon, CEO and founder of Viva Organica.
Viva Organica, having greenhouses in Culiacan, Sayula, and Baja Norte — the company is usually producing its tomato and cucumber line throughout the year, but expects the summer months to be at its peak. “Our greenhouses play an integral role in fulfilling programs we have established with our retailers, which is why our employees need to be cared for even more,” said Bon.
“As a precaution, we’re converting unused housing into medical rooms with beds and we’re also allowing older employees or employees with underlying medical conditions to not work and still receive full pay. In addition to all the PPE we use, the temperature taking of employees, and all the training, we’re really creating a company atmosphere that is safe for workers to do their job.”
As with most farming companies in Mexico, workers come from all across the country for weeks and months at a time. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a lot of uncertainty in Mexico and if labor shortages would be in effect throughout the farming industry. Divine Flavor and its growers such as Viva Organica, have made social responsibility a focal point of their company’s philosophy, which in turn has contributed to workers being hired as full-time and also having seasonal workers return each season.
“We don’t know what the next few weeks have in store regarding this Coronavirus situation and what impact it will have on Mexico, but we know that we are prepared and our employees will be taken care of. Without them, we won’t be able to fulfill our promise of delivering fresh and healthy produce to the markets,” said Bon. “They are the real heroes.”