Prickly pear processing plant kicks off in Mexico
A Mexican public-private partnership has led to the construction of prickly pear processing facility that can make juices, alcoholic spirits, honey and jam from the exotic fruit.
The plant in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco cost MXN14.6 million (US$1.1 million) with the help of MXN4.4 million (US$333,764) in funding from Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA).
The rest of the financing came from growers involved in the project, which is part of the government's territorial development strategy.
The plant will be run by company Tuna-lá S.A., sourcing fruit from the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Aguascalientes that otherwise would have been sold as fresh.
Tuna-lá general director Ricardo Huerta Wilde spent seven years in research and development to create a machine that can peel prickly pears on a massive scale without mixing the peel with the fruit, which means a bitter taste can be avoided in the final product.
After the machine was developed, a further two years was spent studying potential products, including juice, concentrate, honey, jam, brandy, a pricky pear digestive, and red and white wine.
It was found the spirits had the highest profit margin.
"Without the help of SAGARPA we could not have developed our project, this is the start of much more. We want to implement four more factories, for oil, flour, concentrates and honey from prickly pears," said Huerta Wilde.
Photo: Flickr, Kretyen