Nยบ 18 July 2018
Fitรณ News 18
Pascual Felius and Pere Luna, December 1996.
Fitó News 18
EDITORIAL The World Cup in Russia has been on everybody’s lips lately. Many fans have been surprised by match results. Favourite teams were disqualified early on and a team like Croatia reached the final. These teams may stand out—more or less—for their technique, fitness level and strategy, but it seems that what really made the difference between those teams was their motivation.
We will soon wrap up the people management training which we started almost two years ago, where we try to learn how to be good leaders in Fitó. We learn communication techniques, how to provide feedback, manage expectations and draw out the best from everyone. We do all this within our company’s own operational procedures—thus forging our own culture, our own way of doing things.
Motivation is something intangible, but it shows. It shows in the level of complicity between team members, the way information flows and leadership is shared ... And it shows especially in the results obtained.
As in the World Cup, what will drive our improvement is our desire to succeed every day. We often know what needs to be done—just like football players know their drills—but doing it with enthusiasm, commitment and conviction is what really marks the difference. Let’s do it!
There may be different reasons for a person to do something and we can even justify not wanting to do something. But our leaders play a prominent role in pinpointing those reasons. A good boss is not just the person who knows how to get the job done well. At Fitó, leaders must ensure that their teams work together, in liberty and respect, encouraging people to develop their skills and grow both professionally and personally. It is no easy task.
Fitó News 18 Proximity
HOBBY COMMITTED TO CLOSER COMMUNICATION The Hobby division launches a newsletter aimed at Spanish distributors.
Hobby Newsletter At Semillas Fitó we try to continually improve our relationship with customers in order to fulfil our mission of proximity, cooperation and long-term relationships. The Hobby division has gone one step further by launching a newsletter that allows us to strengthen our relationship with distributors in Spain, informing them of our new products and offering valuable content. The first newsletter will feature a news section reporting our latest releases, a section devoted to the division’s news updates and a section featuring POS materials offered by Fitó Hobby and available to our distributors. The contents of the newsletter will change and evolve in sync with the division and the amateur horticulture sector. The aim is for it to always be a useful and interesting tool for our subscribers.
We strongly believe that there are many ways to add value. Creating content is important, but we also need to be genuinely interested in our partners’ concerns and needs. We have included a section in the newsletter where our customers can get involved and provide input on topics of interest, such as the launch of new superbol varieties in early 2019. To be active listeners, we must keep our finger on the pulse of the market, identify new opportunities and forge a relationship of trust with our customers. With actions such as this, we seek not only to promote our varieties and encourage sales but invest in a longterm relationship with our customers—one of our core corporate values.
Fitó News 18 Proximity
OUR PRODUCTION CENTER IN CHILE Luis Vielma and Claudia Gaete, Country Manager and Farm Manager in Fitó Chile, explain how the production center works.
How long have you been working at Fitó? Claudia Gaete: I started working at Fitó in 2014. Luis Vielma: I’ve been working at Semillas Fitó for about 4 years, but I have been working with the company for more than 20 years. How is that? L. V.: Since Fitó established seed production programmes in Chile I have always been involved in the development of the company’s material as an employee of the company Agrogestión, a Chilean company that provided Semillas Fitó with production services. You then took part in the birth of Fitó Chile as such? L. V.: I was involved from the beginning, when Fitó started seed production in Chile. The process began when Semillas Fitó contacted the company Clause. At that time, I was employed by Clause so that was my first contact with the Fitó genetic material, and I started dealing professionally with the company, especially with Antonio Fitó. What activities take place in Fitó Chile? L. V.: Fitó Chile provides production services, both at A and B levels, C levels, inbred lines and single offspring lines. We have a priority structure called Proari, located in the Arica region (a city bordering Peru), and we have a portfolio of suppliers that provide production services to Semillas Fitó in Chile. How do you see the evolution of Fitó Chile since the collaboration with Proari began? C. G.: There has been considerable growth. Investments have been made in infrastructure and strategic work is taking place to meet the challenges of horticultural production markets. What species do we produce in Chile? C. G.: The main production is the solanaceae range (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.). We have also grown some melon, watermelon and squash. And how much we produce? C. G.: In 2014 we started with 2.5 hectares and now we have 4 hectares. We use 3 hectares for production and the rest are assigned to R&D and development programs. In fact, today I’m in Barcelona to review the annual results, as there is a chance of growing even more in Chile and devoting more land to research.
Fitó News 18 Proximity
What are your functions within Fitó? C. G.: I work as Manager, so I control crops, ensuring yield, staff management and administration of the farm as a whole. L. V.: Right now, I am the Country Manager for Fitó Chile. I also support the commercial area in development and testing of tomato varieties—given that Chile stands out as a leading country in this species. One of the achievements in conjunction with the company AGRICAL (Fitó representative in Chile) is the introduction and sale of the Runner tomato. What do you like the most or appreciate the most about your job? C. G.: What I love the most about my job is the field. Observing plants, their behaviour, explaining the results... L. V.: Seed production has been my specialty from my early years as an agronomist and I find it exciting. It’s what I’ve done my entire career. How important is long-term vision—a core Fitó value—in the production process? L. V.: Long-term vision involves thinking about production process challenges: production targets, quality parameter compliance and now everything involved in being part of Fitó material development. In other words, it involves considering Chile’s potential contribution in producing B level lines, single offspring lines, both B1 and B2 level lines and inbred line production. How is innovation introduced into the production process? C. G.: We have set up germination chambers to analyse seed quality trends and make deliveries before the seed reaches the Quality Control Laboratory in Barcelona. Likewise, Seed Technology is now being implemented to track rootstock programs: equipment recording light, temperature and humidity to determine the times when rootstocks produce the best results because they are not easy crops. Could you explain what your short- and medium-term goals are at Fitó Chile? L. V.: In the short term, our main objective is to meet the Fitó production requirements at all levels. In the long term, our aim is to continue consolidating Fitó crops and continue addressing all challenges, mainly in terms of quantity and quality. In short, our goal is to consolidate Chile as a strategic hub in seed production for Fitó.
Semillas Fitó Chile in Azapa Valley, Arica.
Fitó News 18 Proximity
TOMATO OPEN DAY: A RESOUNDING SUCCESS! In Portugal we presented our new products and products under development to the leading farmers in the Murcia and Almería area.
On 24 May we celebrated the Tomato Open Day in Portugal. The symposium was attended by leading farmers in the Murcia and Almería area and various players in the food chain who came out to discover our new products and varieties we are developing in the country. At the event—which took place in our Torres Vedras demonstration field (north of Lisbon)—we showed our tomato range for the area, featuring the BIGRAM cluster tomato, market leader for over 10 years in Portugal. The over 150 attendees were able to see and taste RUNNER, a new beef tomato which was well-received as an outstanding alternative in the tomato salad segment for the Portuguese market.
We also revealed our tomato range for winter crops. But no doubt our cherry tomato demonstration is what attracted the most interest. This time around we wanted to give special importance to the cherry tomato and Fitó’s commitment to develop varieties which, in addition to providing profitability to the farmer and good post-harvest outcomes, feature outstanding taste and colour while preserving the traditional tomato flavour, thus addressing the growing demand in the European market for such products. We also opened a space next to the test field for guests to try the tomato and obtain a Brix reading.
Fitó News 18 Proximity
Our Eastern Europe colleagues were also with us: Igor Jozic, Area Manager of Horticulture in Eastern Europe, and Marko Vidakovic, Horticultural Development Technician in Eastern Europe. They were very interested in the RUNNER variety, because of its great potential also in their market. During the event we were able to reaffirm Fitó’s leadership in Portugal and forge closer ties with our customers, who were able to exchange views with Maria Berenguer, Tomato Breeder and Salvador Peramo, Solanaceae Product Manager. This event, which we have organized for three consecutive years, has become a landmark event for the sector in Portugal. Year after year, stakeholders in the country closely follow our proposals developed in the area to meet the needs of farmers and to respond to market trends.
Fitó News 18 Experience
MANAGEMENT BY MISSIONS Participation in the Sixth “Companies with a Human Face” Symposium. On 27 April we had the pleasure of attending the Sixth “Companies with a Human Face” Symposium held at the International University of Catalonia (UIC). The conference dealt with Management by Missions in different cultures. We heard presentations by our colleagues Enrique Roca (Director of Sales and Marketing for Field Crops Europe), Ahmad Shk Qasem (Director of Semillas Fitó Middle East) and Jaswant Singh (Director of Semillas Fitó India). It turned out to be a very enriching session because we were able to address the issue of mission-based management from a different perspective. We shared experiences with companies from around the world, including the Condals Foundry, a leading Catalan company in the foundry sector led by Antoni Puigmal, and Venture Source, an American company chaired by Phil Sotok, who talked to us about the “pursuit of fulfilment”. Among the participants, special emphasis must be made on the contribution of Alpha Omega, an Israeli company that tackles the complex reality given the country’s plight and the diversity with which they coexist. The company’s founders, Imad and Reem Younis (a Palestinian couple), have managed to build an empire thanks to their perseverance and their understanding of the Management by Missions model, which has helped them embrace and welcome diversity and work together for a common goal, overcoming discrimination and inequality. Enrique, Ahmad and Jaswant stressed the importance of a shared mission and the need to support all our employees worldwide in fulfilling this mission.
Pablo Cardona, dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Communication at UNIR (La Rioja), spoke of Management by Missions in the new digital era. He highlighted the new dynamic of the mission, moving from a traditional model in which the organizational mission is decided by senior management and where personal and shared missions are subservient to the organization’s mission, to a new mission that is alive and arises from the organization itself and where the organization serves the shared and personal missions. Pablo also introduced the concept of “Contributor” in lieu of “Employee”. The rationale of this new figure is based on incentives to contribution (personal mission) and workers having power over their own schedules and tasks. This model emphasizes the need for the company to create interesting projects to attract talent. It was a very full day in which we addressed a variety of topics, all related to missions, and how to manage company talent in the different realities around the world. We were able to network with all Symposium participants, to share views and comments. Attending these events allows us to learn and keep abreast of new trends, learn and improve. We are looking forward to joining the next Symposium!
Fitó News 18 Experience
EDUARD FITÓ CHAIRS THE ISF Our corporate director is the new representative of seed breeders worldwide.
Eduard Fitó, our Corporate Director, was elected chair of the International Seed Federation during the 69th World Congress of the ISF in Brisbane, Australia. In this capacity, Eduard Fitó will represent seed breeders—hundreds of family companies, SMEs and several multinationals—based in 72 countries and operating almost all over the planet. In addition to managing the company Semillas Fitó and now chairing the ISF, Eduard Fitó is also a member of the Board of the National Association of Plant Breeders (ANOVE) and Chairman of its Horticultural Section. Having our Director involved in institutions that represent the interests of seed companies gives us visibility and prestige. In his acceptance speech, Eduard Fitó stated that his two main objectives were to “promote innovation in plant breeding and create the best possible circumstances to expand the global seed movement”. Another key strategic line will be to encourage communication in the Federation.
ISF members and General Secretaries of seeds national associations.
Fitó News 18 Experience
“We have to devote more time and resources,” he noted, “to explain who we are, what we do and why we do what we do. Everyone needs to know—and not only those that already know us—that our dream is a world where everyone has access to quality seed using fully sustainable agriculture and ensuring food security”. “Population growth is a well-known fact and the resources to feed everyone are reduced. Soil, nutrients and water are ultimately finite means that we must protect. As a citizen, I share with many other people a vision that humanity can continue to obtain food supplies through sustainable agriculture”. The International Seed Federation, which groups the vast majority of national seed associations in the world, also shares this view. Feeding the world sustainably can only be achieved if farmers have access to quality seed. Quality seed can turn subsistence farming into market agriculture. In countries where farmers struggle to make a living by selling their crops, sustainable agriculture is also profitable. The seed sector therefore believes in supporting innovation. Innovation in agriculture is the fundamental point of impact in our sector, and we devote between 20% and 30% of our resources to R&D, a higher percentage than the pharmaceutical industry, aerospace and electronics industries. “Consumers are demanding more fresh and top-quality foods, in different sizes and textures, more nutritious and
tastier. They want them in any season, at an affordable price, more durable and with full food security. Plant breeders work to make this a reality, and that is why plant innovation contributes to the welfare and health of citizens and improves their quality of life. The more we are, the greater our ability to innovate and the richer our diversity. We must pay attention to how we are regulated, since excessive regulation could unnecessarily increase the price of processes to bring new seeds to market, which would leave many breeders out. The problem is that plant breeding is expensive, and its ultimate goals are not always achieved, which makes it very risky”. The greatest difficulty in coping with this risk is illegal production and marketing of seeds. “We are concerned about this pirating,” Fitó states. Much as musicians combine notes to make songs and writers choose words to tell stories, variety breeders combine unique characters to make new seeds. This selection work, as any other creation, should be protected and copyrighted. Respect for intellectual property is essential because this is the only way we can obtain resources for further research, improving and developing new varieties—which requires a lot of talent, costs millions of euros and requires years of dedicated work. The future of agriculture and food for humanity hangs in the balance.
Fitó News 18 Experience
THE SEED PROCESS Some participants from the third edition share their opinions.
Last May we celebrated the third edition of the training route The seed process. Again, our colleagues visited the Barcelona centre, the Cabrera laboratory and the Llavaneres production centre to understand the processes that we are all carrying out and that allow us to carry out our business activity. The route has been very well received among participants, speakers and organizers as well as attendees, so it will soon be extended to include other centres. Stay tuned!
Packaging Officer, Barcelona
“It was very interesting to be able to see the Cabrera centers, where I
worked many years ago, and see how everything has changed witnessing the company’s growth”.
Field Croops and Turf Grasses Division Import Coordinator, Barcelona
“The vast majority of our collea-
gues have been happy to collaborate and they explained their roles with enthusiasm. I think that’s a very important indicator! I found it very interesting because it has allowed us to learn from each other and understand the problems of other departments to appreciate the work of all our colleagues even more”.
Fitó News 18 Experience
Shipping and Logistics Officer, Barcelona
“What I liked most was our visit to Mercabarna,
where we were able to see the final product. I also enjoyed Llavaneras, where we could work out in the field and share a fun experience with colleagues from other departments with whom we often have no relationship”.
Vegetables Customer Service, Spain and Portugal
“I really enjoyed the experience because it gave me the opportunity to
meet the various agents involved in the development and production of the seed that I sell. It allows you to have a global vision of the human and technological effort required by a seed company and, above all, I felt important and a key part of the company’s growth”.
Controller of Molecular Markers, Barcelona
“I think it’s a good idea to do this kind of entertaining training, following the seed path to get to know the various departments and feel that you are part of a whole, feel that you are contributing to the company and its growth”.
Development & Sales Representative of Hobby “I think it’s great for people to see how all jobs within Fitó are important and necessary, that we are a great team and we are moving in the same direction to achieve our goals. Also, being new to the company, it has helped me to live with people whom I did not know too well. I hope that we can continue doing activities like this every so often!”.
Labeling Operator, Barcelona
“I really enjoyed visiting the Llavaneres center.
Everything was very well-organized, our colleagues were very nice and explanations were very interesting”.
Fitรณ News 18 Experience
Field Crops Iberia Sales & Development team.
SALES TRAINING FOR IBERIA FIELD CROPS The sales team for Iberia Field Crops received specific training on sales techniques.
On July 3 and 4 the Iberia Field Crops sales team received specific, staggered sales training. The first day was focused on strategy, processes and improving sales techniques. The second day was focused on product, namely fodder, and the challenges of animal feed.
The training session was mostly taught by specialized professionals working in Fitรณ. Jordi Maynegre, agronomist and associate professor at the University of Lleida, was also invited to discuss feed management for a dairy cow farm in the 21st century.
Fitó News 18 Experience
The team was very receptive to the training as it provided new knowledge in a dynamic and practical way.
We spoke to Enrique Martin, Area Manager for the north of Spain and Portugal, who gave a lecture on negotiation techniques:
How do you prepare your sessions? For the most part I draw on my personal experience, but I also usually look for information in books and the Internet and adapt lessons to our customers’ particularities. Do you like being a speaker? Why? Yes. To be honest, I realized I enjoyed it after my first training when I saw that people showed interest in what I had to share with them. At the end of the session some people even came up to me to thank me.
How long have you worked in Semillas Fitó? I’ve been with the company since January 17, 2003, so if my math is right in six months that will be 16 years. What experience do you have? What do you do at Fitó? At Semillas Fitó I am the Area Manager for Northeast Spain and Northern Portugal. Therefore, my duties are to support and coach my team while ensuring that the strategies proposed by company management are applied to achieve the objectives set out. How important are staff training sessions? Ongoing education is essential, since technologies, market trends and the needs and problems of customers are constantly changing. Our obligation is to be prepared to face new challenges as they arise. Do you think it’s better for trainers to be from Fitó or external? Why? In my opinion, the advantage of having a company trainer is that class content will be more targeted to the market realities we are going to face. Often external trainers do not know the sensitivities of an industry as idiosyncratic as agriculture. What skills are most important in the sales team? Due to the peculiarity of the sector, the team has to develop both technical and commercial skills. They must have sufficient technical training to advise farmers on their different crops. But they should also work well as part of a team, be good communicators and above all have persistence and perseverance to achieve the desired results. What was your training session about at the Field Crops Convention? My training was on negotiation, focusing primarily on handling objections and closing.
What do you think sales team can look forward to in their upcoming training sessions? Based on my experience on the other side of the fence as a student, I’d say that they can expect to acquire tools and skills which will be useful in their daily lives. How do you evaluate the impact of training on your team? It depends on the type of training. We must tread lightly when choosing the theme of the course. I have found that if the subject matter does not arouse interest they consider it a waste of time and ignore it. However, when you hit a nerve with the course content, in most cases they use the lessons learned; although I am also aware that we need to monitor the use of tools and knowledge learned. What conclusions do you draw from the last training? We must continue to insist on training and looking for topics of interest. We have an obligation to improve every day as professionals, something which comes only with effort, interest and strong training.
Fitó News 18 Innovation
CHALLENGE At Fitó we are committed to our employees’ professional and personal development, creating a climate of freedom, respect and teamwork. Our DNA also drives us to innovate and invest in new ways of doing things. This philosophy sparked the Fitó Challenge—a quiz that challenged us all to strengthen our corporate culture. It was an innovative and fun way to learn and share why we do what we do.
Fitó News 18 Innovation
TOP 3 PLAYERS BURAK BAGIRSAKCI JOSÉ ANTONIO (Turkey) ROZAS (Maresme) points
evolution of success
TOP 3 TEAMS TURKEY
JOSEFA MAROTO (Maresme)
26.761 14% knowledge
36.254 20% knowledge
22.023 15% knowledge
“I liked the game from the very beginning. It was very well organized, which is why so many people played in all subsidiaries. It was rated very highly in different regions. What motivated me to play was the fact that we could compete as a team (Turkey) and individually. In Turkey we planned how to beat other centres like Maresme, Barcelona, Italy, etc. Our first goal was to win as a team and then win individually. I’m about to celebrate one year in Fitó. This game taught me many things about the history, values, mission, vision, varieties and major crops in different areas, strategies, etc. I think this game is much more useful than a lecture to learn about our company. Obviously, I wish I would have won. But winning as a team is much more valuable to me. I also want to congratulate all colleagues who ranked in the top 10.” Burak Bagirsakci, Turkey, 1st place
Fitó News 18 Innovation
“The game is very addictive. The challenges make you think strategically and get involved. The most interesting thing was that once you’ve finished the game, you realize you’ve learned a lot! The content has been very enriching and being able to challenge your own colleagues has made it more fun”. José Antonio Rozas, Cabrera de Mar, 2nd place “I liked the game. A very healthy and interesting competitive environment was created. Although several people played very strategically and that made the game very challenging. Still, it helped me learn a lot about the company that I did not know.” José Ramón Lezana, Barcelona, 10th place “To tell you the truth, when I heard about the Fitó Challenge I thought it would be a waste of time, but when I saw it and I started playing, I could see how people got hooked slowly and this created a team spirit, so I decided to continue playing. I think it has been useful for two things: one, because we have learned things about Fitó that we certainly would not retain the same way if we read about them in a brochure. And the other is the level of companionship in the station. Many people that due to their daily work don’t have much contact get to have a lot of interaction. I think that even that on its would have made it worthwhile.” María Berenguer, Almería, 73th place “I wish the game had more questions, because when it came down to it, it was just a matter of going faster than your opponent. However, it is a very interesting method from a didactic standpoint. I have learned many things I did not know about our business, our products, our people ... Besides, the game worked very well and the application was intuitive and easy to use.” Luis Fernández-Cervera, Barcelona, 113rd place
Fitó News 18 Innovation
FUTURE OF FOOD Fitó Foodture includes actions, projects and concepts that aim to anticipate future consumer needs.
Disruptive Thinking We contribute new and disruptive ideas. We are convinced that innovation implemented responsibly will bring value to society and the restaurant industry.
Fitó Foodture grew from the desire to innovate. At Semillas Fitó we boast over 150 years innovating our core business: for example, developing new resistance varieties. However, this type of innovation does not necessarily set us apart from the competition, since remaining competitive is an intrinsic need for companies in this industry. Also, since innovation is a cornerstone of our business strategy, Fitó wants to go further. Foodture was born. It is a structured work group focused on finding innovative solutions de-linked from our main objective. Foodture does not focus on solving the needs of the farmer and the distributor, but rather focuses on the final consumer’s needs. According to our mission, at Fitó we are innovative and proactive. We are ahead of the curve and adapt to new trends set by society.
The goal is to position Semillas Fitó as an innovative company and obtain a stable leadership position. With Foodture, we are not selling seed but rather a concept. We provide a solution, for example, for a meal. We create a new concept from start to finish and offer it in the best conditions, establishing a certain way of consuming it. This allows us to offer something unique and distinctive, unlike production innovations that are easier to replicate. At Semillas Fitó we understand that our core business is to offer our customers (farmers and distributors) competitive varieties. However, Foodture goes beyond that and is not limited to the concerns of our direct customers. The new project focuses on the end consumer and the consumer of the future. It offers complete concepts covering one or more varieties grown in a specific way by leading companies (our partners) in specific areas (exclusive), with customized packaging and consumer recommendations (recipes and combinations with other products).
Fitó News 18 Innovation
Monterosa is a large-calibre, furrowed and intense pink tomato at maturity. It does not have a long-life gene, so it has a high potential flavour if cultivated properly. This tomato draws attention and creates expectations. It evokes bygone tomatoes as it is aromatic, juicy and sweet—with a fruity finish. It is known for being very versatile when it comes to preparation, either alone or in salads of many combinations, even sauces and salmorejo. Monterosa resulted from crossing a Girona pear tomato and a Costoluto Genovese. From early on we discovered that it would be difficult to develop the variety as a commodity product because achieving the necessary stability in the required qualities with minimal yield was difficult. We searched for a company that understood the importance of producing Monterosa, bearing in mind its quality standards, and we found in the Gavà Group our ideal partner. This company has a clear idea of the needs and requirements of its customers when it comes to production, and they grow tomatoes based on what they can sell. In fact, part of the production is discarded because it does not meet minimum quality standards. Thus, consumers can be certain that if they buy Monterosa, they are always getting top quality. Currently the Monterosa tomato is well established, especially in Spain. Markets where it is growing include the United States and the hobby segment.
Waikiki is a Branco melon, but with a smaller calibre—from 2 to 3 kg—and orange flesh. The Branco melon is a native species of Portugal and usually weighs 4.5 to 5.5 kg, featuring less netting and white flesh. It is a species virtually unknown outside Portugal and is of very good internal quality and good post-harvest processing, two important and difficult requirements found in European melons. Waikiki has allowed the Branco melon species to adapt to the demands of Central European melon consumers. There is currently no other variety like Waikiki on the market because it is an innovation in both size and flesh colour. In the eyes of the European market, the new variety is different on the outside and tasty and surprising inside. Waikiki resulted from the ambition of making small melons that were different. European consumers look for formats less than 2 kg that taste good. With Waikiki we have achieved a different melon that is amazing outside and inside, with good taste and an appropriate postharvest handling. The challenge now is to further reduce the size of the fruit. This new variety is in its initial retail development phase. This is the first year it is sold commercially by two partners—one in Portugal and one in Spain—for distribution in Europe. The priority markets are especially Germany and France, Austria and the Netherlands.
Fitó News 18 Innovation
Essentia is a heart-shaped cherry pear tomato with a stiff and crisp body and excellent flavour. This tomato is intended for clients looking for a different type of full-flavored tomato, either for a delicious snack or for preparing dishes with a fresh and original touch. Essentia came from the search for a ribbed cherry tomato. Finally, we came up with this heart-shaped cherry pear tomato and worked on the marketing along these lines, seeking to differentiate ourselves from the standard cherry pear offer. The standard cherry pear segment is being standardized: this type of tomato has gone from being a specialty four years ago to become a commodity now. Unfortunately, when a product becomes standardized, its quality level usually drops. With Essentia we wanted to obtain a visually different cherry pear tomato distinguished by a high-quality standard. The project has been developed in four years. The key is the selection made when harvesting the fruits. Our partners select fruits that will be sold under the Essentia brand very strictly to ensure the highest quality in taste, shape and size. In just one year, the Essentia sales volume has doubled and it is currently in its second business year. Despite being in the process of consolidation, the variety arouses high interest from production companies who wish to join the project.
Finggerino arose from the desire to launch a hitherto inexistent tomato. The goal is to offer consumers a “user-friendly” tomato that can be used as an appetizer, offers comfortable slicing, cooking on the grill, is quick to prepare and allows optimizing the whole tomato. It is a new concept that was conceived by “Conceptual Breeding”: we developed the idea in the office and conveyed it to the breeding department, which selected the fruits featuring the necessary characteristics of length, thickness, etc. Finggerino is still in its pre-commercial phase. Next autumn we will be able to assess its quality, strength and viability.
Fitó News 18 Innovation
New concepts for new consumers Linking a project such as Foodture with seed sales is extensive. The concepts born under the Foodture umbrella contribute several things to Fitó including brand image and visibility. These are special varieties that reach the final consumer through a standalone brand, although owned by Semillas Fitó. Foodture also provides prestige on a new channel: it positions us between the set of companies that market the product from origin to destination. Long Keeper is a hanging tomato that keeps well over time and does not require refrigeration (hence its name). This is the most characteristic and interesting strength for the distribution chain, since in Europe and elsewhere in the north of Spain this type of tomato is unknown. The hanging tomato is not new, but Semillas Fitó is the only company that develops breeding in this type and has “packaged” it as a concept. The aim is to offer a tomato that keeps well over time without refrigeration, linking it with respect for the environment.
Moreover, with Foodture we refine our processes and generate know-how, since we do more monitoring of the product sales process and receive information from the supermarket and the end customer. All this allows us to collect data in order to know the market better and develop improvements. Finally, through Foodture we establish
relationships with other companies to which access is difficult with commodity products, which only provide benefits to the grower. These new concepts, since they involve different products, are of interest to supermarkets—enabling them to differentiate themselves from their competition. The Semillas Fitó business model is breeding and developing varieties that solve farmers’ needs. However, if we pursue innovation, we must think big and reach far. Foodture is compatible
with our core business and we need it to evolve.
Fitó News 18 Innovation
WE COLLABORATE IN OPTIMIZING IRRIGATION Semillas Fitó is part of a task force funded to work on a project entitled “Management of irrigation and mycorrhization of agricultural crops”.
Representatives of the operating group formed by Agrícola Maresme S.XX1, Arrau, the research group of Dr. María Cinta Calvet and Semillas Fitó.
The public call for task forces of the Catalan Government subsidizes research projects that bring together partners with complementary skills to enhance synergies. Through Resolution ARP/1868/2017 of the Generalitat, a task force has been created comprising the horticultural sector agricultural producer Maresme S.XXI, agronomic consulting firm Arrau, the research group of Dr. María Cinta Calvet who heads the IRTA-Cabrils Sustainable Plant Protection program and Semillas Fitó, contributing our knowledge of seed technology and seed inoculation.
The aim of the project is to optimize irrigation management in tomato crops by inoculation with mycorrhizal seed pellets. With the implementation of this technology, we will achieve savings in consumption of water resources in tomato cultivation as well as a number of additional improvements such as reduced use of fertilizers, plant protection agents and flavour enhancers, which will directly benefit farms and make them more sustainable. This project will also provide a model for extrapolating technology to other crops in the future. The project has been funded through EAFRD aid. The European Innovation Partnership “Agricultural productivity and Sustainability” (EIP-AGRI) provides innovation cooperation aid through promoting task forces, as regulated by Order ARP/258/2015 PDR Operation (Measure 16.01.01 of the Rural Development Program of Catalonia 2014-2020).
Fitรณ News 18 Innovation
OUR BEST VARIETIES NOW IN
Fitó News 18 Fitó Family
HUMAN RESOURCES Jorge Piqueras Trial Officer
Center: Murcia, Spain. Hobbies: Mountaineering, basketball, cycling, gardening.
Luis Miguel Borquez
Development & Sales Representative of Vegetables in Mexico
Center: Sinaloa, Mexico. Hobbies: Fishing.
Human Resources Business Partner
Center: Barcelona, Spain. Hobbies: Everything that allows me to be in contact with nature and disconnect from noise.
Development & Sales Representative of Hobby
Center: Barcelona, Spain. Hobbies: TV series, cinema and mountain trail running.
Center: Bangalore, India. Hobbies: Watching the birds.
Center: Cabrera de Mar, Spain. Hobbies: Reading, cinema, swimming, learning English and enjoying with my family.
Juan Carlos Zazueta Corporate Partner in México
Center: Culiacán, Mexico. Hobbies: Reading, music, cinema, mountain cycling, spending time with my family.
Antonio Ginés Beltrán Anne-Sophie Fontaine Squash Plant Breeder
Center: Cabrera de Mar, Spain. Hobbies: Gardening, DIY, cooking, swimming, dancing and sailing.
Center: Murcia, Spain. Hobbies: Cycling.
Fitó News 18 Fitó Family
Newborns DAVID 12/02/2018
Son of Marta Rosa Tió (Lab Assistant in Cabrera de Mar). David is the youngest brother of Adrià and Sergi.
The first son of Jorge Pérez, Development & Sales Representative of Field Crops in Extremadura. He explains that he is a very cheerful child and the joy of the house!
04/04/2018 The first daughter of Mercedes Soriano, Lab Technician in Cabrera de Mar.
First son of Alberto de Marcos, Researcher in genomics and trait genetics. He was born with a weight of 2.69 kg, but he has not stopped eating since then!
Little Damià is the first son of Damià Muñoz, IT Manager.
WORD SEARCH Find 6 new corn varieties
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Fitó News 18 Fitó Family
DID YOU KNOW...
…Antonio Ramírez Maroto is the most veteran Fitó worker?
Antonio, better known as Carmona, is currently the active worker with most years of experience in Fitó:
50 YEARS, NO LESS! Why do they call you Carmona? They call me Carmona because my father, Antonio Ramírez Carmona, was referred to as Carmona at Semillas Fitó. When I entered the company, since I was very young, some started calling me Carmonilla. Later on, I asked them to call me Carmona rather than Antonio. At that time there were Antonios in the company and every time they called us three or four people answered. That is why everyone knows me as Carmona rather than Antonio. How many years have you been working at Fitó? I started working for Semillas Fitó in 1969. In 1973 I served in the military and so stepped down from my job at Fitó. When I finished military service, in late 1974, I came to Barcelona and bumped into Antonio Fitó, who asked me if I had finished military duty and if I had a job. I said I didn’t because I had just arrived, and he told me to not look for work, inviting me to come back to Semillas Fitó. So, on January 10, 1975 I returned to work in the company. How do you see the company since its inception until now? What has changed? It has evolved a lot and now workers are more informed about its development. Before we had a more family environment because there were fewer people, but there was not much information on company growth. We were happy and the Fitó family greatly appreciated us, but everything was more secretive. What has been your experience of the Cabrera de Mar facility’s evolution? The Cabrera farm has grown well and fast. I was responsible for building the Maresme farms, since there was nothing: greenhouses, electrical cables, irrigation pipes, etc. And since there are no drawings, I’m the only one that knows how things work, so now they call me from any farm when there is a problem.
I imagine that you must have a lot of stories to tell from all these years. Could you tell us some? I would have liked to learn Catalan, but I did not get the chance because “Grandpa Casimiro” told me and my colleagues from Andalusia that when he went to Madrid to do business, since he did not understand Spanish well, he encountered difficulties and he sometimes got confused. He then spoke to us in Spanish to practice! So I wasn’t able to learn Catalan. What was your biggest challenge? At Premià we had three farms: Las Palmeras, El Molino and Pozo Viejo. We bought a new 8.000 m2 farm and decided to build more modern greenhouses. I wanted to take charge of the construction, together with the assistants, and so we started on the Los Patos farm. We had to install underground sheet metal for a pond. It started raining heavily right after we started. It was a huge storm. This property was right next to the stream, so all the sheets gave way and it was a disaster. At that time I was just a rookie and I got very nervous. I start building my first farm and everything is destroyed! Fortunately, Antonio Fitó told me not to worry. These things just happened. What advice would you give to new hires? Take interest in learning, engage with the company and enjoy agriculture without looking at the clock and get involved in your job and your farm. What is your take-away after all these years working in the company? What does Fitó mean for you? At Fitó I have learned and enjoyed hybridization. I have been familiar with agriculture since I was a child—my parents were farmers—but I had no idea about all this. When we started making the first hybridizations in Fitó at the Las Palmeras farm, I became keenly interest since it was a completely new side to agriculture. I discovered new things every day...and still have a lot to learn! I am extremely proud of having worked at Semillas Fitó. In fact, in September I’m going to turn 67. I’m still working and I am happy. If I were young again, I would not hesitate going back to work for the company.