GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Greenhouse and shade house growers are looking north and south to grow their markets.

At the fourth annual AMHPAC convention Aug. 24-26, association general director Eric Viramontes identified taking advantage of niche markets in the U.S. and providing year-round supplies as growth areas.

AMHPAC, the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture, represents greenhouse and shade house growers across Mexico.

Mexican greenhouse association identifies new marketsBut despite their role as a major supplier of vegetables and fruit to the U.S., he said growers should look to the south for new markets in other Central American countries.

Panama and Costa Rica offer a potential outlet for product that differs from U.S. consumer standards, Viramontes said.

He said consumers in those countries are demanding when it comes to flavor and they value consistency in products but they are not as demanding as U.S. consumers regarding aesthetic qualities.

As an example, he said consumers in those countries don’t mind if a cucumber is crooked as long as it tastes good.

During an Aug. 24 session, AMHPAC board of directors president Cesar Campana announced he will step down.

Carlos Cueto, a Jalisco-based pepper grower and formerly vice president of the board, succeeds Compana, who grows vegetables in Sinaloa.

AMHPAC members also approved a new member fee structure, with members growing on 5 hectares (about 12 acres) or more paying $2,500, those with 2-5 hectares paying $1,500 and those with 1.9 hectares or less paying $1,000.

The fee structure aims to increase small grower membership, Viramontes said.