Coliman Expands Its Reach in North America
- by Jordan Okumura
COLIMA, MEXICO - With the mission of becoming a regional, national, and international leader in marketing and distributing organic bananas, Coliman is ramping up in 2016 with its goal to actively expand its reach in North America. The vertically integrated grower, packer, and shipper, was founded by Mr. Custodio Aguilar in 1963 and is now lead by Mr. Jorge Aguilar (President) and Jorge Angel Aguilar Jr. (CEO), who bring 53 years of growing experience to retail partners. Currently, the company exports organic bananas to many countries including the USA, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, and Japan.
“Coliman is a family-owned and operated company and we take great pride in that aspect of the business. When Mr. Custodio Aguilar decided to establish the first operations in Colima, he knew that the land was ideal for tropical farming and offered the best climate for producing bananas and for creating a foundation for the family. In 2010 Mr. Jorge Aguilar transitioned the farm to organic and by 2014 all banana production was certified organic," Jorge Angel Aguilar Jr, Corporate CEO, tells me as we discuss the company’s evolution and vision moving forward.
Global GAP, Primus GFS, Organic and Fair Trade Certified, the company is also working on its Rain Forest Alliance certification in 2016. Coliman grows 100% its own organic production in the Tecoman, Colima, Mexico, which is ideal for organic banana production. In addition, the company’s transport time to the southern U.S. border in Nogales, AZ, is 60 hours and to McAllen, TX, travel time is around 36 hours max, the company notes, giving Coliman efficient access to both the East and West Coast from its growing operations. To ensure that the organic bananas travel well, Coliman pre-cools all of its fruit within one hour of being harvested and uses Biotempak on all shipments and/or customer specified temp-recorder.
“Pre-cooling the fruit as soon as possible after harvest reduces respiration, minimizes water loss, which is the key to maximizing shelf-life and weight, preserving curb appeal and flavor,” Jorge Jr. adds. “Control is the number one objective for our drivers and managers, and is executed through our modern refrigerated transportation methods. We also pack to customer specs and can tailor programs to our retail partners’ needs.”
As the company looks to continued growth in 2016, Coliman is ensuring it remains committed to being socially responsible company. Coliman has been recognized five years in a row (2012-2016) by Mexican Center for Philanthropy for these efforts. The company has also been recipients of the Mexico Agri-food National Award in 2014 by the President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto. In 2015, Coliman was recognized by the Mexican Department of Labor as a Child Labor Free company.
As Coliman continues to innovate in the increasingly competitive fresh produce environment, stay tuned as we bring you more on the company’s passionate pursuit of excellence in organic banana production.