The main offices of Jova Graneros are just 20 minutes away from Culiacán Airport. Nothing indicates that it is a company with sales that exceed 3 billion pesos a year: it is a small and modest place, composed of just over a dozen desks, where about 50 people work in the administrative area.
The true reflection of the business magnitude is located next door, in a warehouse where the products are stored. The facility is the former soap factory of La Corona – where Jabón Zote and Rosa Venus, as well as detergents Foca and Roma used to be fabricated-, until Joel Valenzuela, who was in charge of buying the sunflower, the safflower and other seeds to make the oils for the soap company, acquired the property to destine it to the commercialization of grains.
Jova Graneros is a 100% family company that buys the grains -Chickpea (garbanzo), corn and beans- from more than 4,200 farmers across the country, and then process and package them for national and international trade. Its main businesses are the sale of white corn in Mexico – among their main clients are some of the giants in the sector, such as Maseca, Cargill, Sukarne, Gramosa, Diconsa and Minsa – and the markets abroad, which demand the white garbanzo of the region, which is already half of their income.
The Mexican garbanzo is one of the Mexican products with the greatest commercial potential in the Middle East, along with avocado, berries, honey, cheese and beef, according to a study carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture (Sagarpa) two years ago during the Commercial Missions of Mexican Producers to the United Arab Emirates (Misiones Comerciales de Productores Mexicanos a Emiratos Árabes Unidos).
In addition to the United Arab Emirates, the Sinaloan chickpea is exported to Turkey, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon, and recently Jova Graneros managed to send a shipment to Iraq.
“We are pioneers in developing the Iraq market directly from Mazatlan. My buyer is a family based in Dubai. We put together all the necessary documents, they pay me and the ship sails to the city of Um Kasar. Traditionally it arrived in Dubai or Turkey, and the product was transported by truck. It took 20 hours, but now, it’s direct, ” says Joel Valenzuela.