Pairwise Partners with Zamorano, Leading Agricultural University in Honduras
Pictured above: Dr. Ana Maier, President of La Escuela Agrícola Panamericana (Zamorano,) and Dr. Jorge Venegas, Director of Latin America Berry Operations at Pairwise
Pairwise this month signed a memorandum of understanding with the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, more commonly known as “Zamorano,” formalizing a partnership between public and private entities committed to advancing agriculture.
US-based Pairwise and Zamorano have been working together to establish a blackberry nursery on Zamorano’s Honduras campus, work that is led by Celia Trejo, Department Head and Cinthya Martinez, Professor of Horticulture. The Zamorano team has been collaborating closely with Pairwise’s Director of Latin America Berry Operations, Jorge Venegas, Zamorano alumnus ‘02. In addition, the team has been working with five growers in Honduras to explore the potential for growing blackberries, which is a new enterprise in the country.
“Our partnership with Zamorano is key to advancing our blackberry business, but it’s especially fulfilling to me to be able to return to my alma mater and interact with the next generation of leaders in agriculture for Latin America,” Venegas said.
Venegas has contributed to the Zamorano curriculum with a number of lectures and a special keynote over the course of the partnership. In addition, he hopes to host Zamorano students at the Pairwise headquarters in North Carolina as part of the company’s summer internship program.
Already, he is working with Bolivian Alex Mamani, an agribusiness student at Zamorano whose senior thesis is titled, “Business plan for the production and commercialization of blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) in three different regions of Honduras.” Mamani is working under the supervision of Professor Julio Rendon.
“Partnerships like the one we have with Pairwise are essential for the experiential nature of a Zamorano education,” said Ana Maier, President of the University. “It’s through these real-world applications that our students graduate ready to contribute to agriculture in their respective countries across Latin America.”
Jorge Venegas, who graduated from the University in 2002 majoring in engineering in agricultural sciences and production, said that his experience at Zamorano was life changing. “From the classroom to the field, processing plants or laboratories, I was exposed to the latest technology in agriculture which not only helped me develop new skills through learning-by-doing, but also helped direct my career path,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding signed this month outlines the areas of collaboration, including opportunities for Zamorano students to work with Pairwise on commercial development plans for Latin America in addition to discussing business opportunities for the University. Already the University and Pairwise have jointly hosted workshops for Honduran growers who are interested in expanding into blackberry production.
“When we first came to Honduras to meet blackberry growers, we could only identify one grower in the blackberry business,” Venegas explained. “Today, we are working with five growers, through the support of Zamorano and the nursery curated by Professor Celia Trejo.” Pairwise hopes to make a positive impact in Honduras by helping the country promote nutritional security and advance its economic goals of the country while enriching the student experience.
Cinthya Martinez, Professor of Horticulture, oversees students and technicians involved in the transplantation of blackberry seedlings in the nursery developed as part of the Zamorano-Pairwise partnership.