Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. is expanding its worldwide production of avocados and blueberries.

During an Aug. 2 investors conference call reporting second quarter FY 2016 results, Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte's CEO, stated the company plans to construct a new Mexican avocado packing facility.

Abu-Ghazaleh didn't provide many details, but said Del Monte expects to complete construction in 2017.

He listed the plant as part of the Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fresh Del Monte's $90 million- $100 million capital investment program.

"We will have the largest avocado packing plant in Mexico by next year, so that's one of our major investments which is ongoing as we speak," Abu-Ghazaleh said. "It would be the most modern in Mexico when it's done and finished."

In blueberries, Del Monte plans to increase its berry production through the purchase of blueberry acreage in Chile.

Under investing activities, the company spent $7.1 million in the purchase of the business, according to the report.

The new farm is in the southern area of Chile, Abu-Ghazaleh said.

Del Monte has harvested fruit from an existing Chilean blueberry farm for more than 20 years, he said.

"But since decided to go into the berry business, as we have said in previous occasions, now we are ramping up the production of blueberries and other berries," Abu-Ghazaleh said. "I hope by next year, we will be an important player in this field."

The fruit that will be grown on the farm will be shipped globally, Abu-Ghazaleh said.

A majority of Del Monte's investment fund is to be directed to new banana and pineapple plantations in the Philippines, he said.

 

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