Grower-shippers in the Mexican greenhouse deal say it isn’t a question of if the program will grow, but how much. They also expect to see other advances in the near future.

For example, some shippers say it’s likely the greenhouse deal will move toward specialized packaging as the entire industry places an emphasis on value-added products.

“Value-added is key, partly because of retail demands, but also because more and more items fall into the snacking category,” said Fried de Schouwer, president of Greenhouse Produce Co. LLC, Vero Beach, Fla.

He also said that more consumers seem to care about value.

“Retailers want items that show that, whether it’s a 1-pound bag or 2-pound clamshell of mini peppers or mini cucumbers, consumers have an immediate value recognition,” he said.

Alfredo Diaz, CEO of the Culiacan-based Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture, said a lot of research is devoted to improving and expanding the Mexican greenhouse industry.

“AMHPAC has strategic alliances with private institutions as well as with government agencies and foreign technology providers with whom we’ve been working with as a part of what we call ‘Concept AMHPAC,’” he said.

“There is work being done not only in production areas, like specific varieties or types of greenhouses, but also in a broader spectrum of what the industry is and where it’s headed,” he said.

Diaz believes that future research will lead to several advances, including more commodities moving indoors.

“Agricultural planning and diversification of the production come hand in hand with the market research that Mexican growers are interested in,” he said.

With this research, Diaz expects the Mexican greenhouse deal to grow, both in America and in other parts of the world.