CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA, US — Fresh Del Monte, a vertically-integrated producer, distributor and marketer of fruits and vegetables, has announced plans to expand its portfolio to include row crops. The company said the move is part of its strategy to find innovative ways to optimize its assets (including underutilized land) amid global concerns over rising costs and global food shortages.

The company intends to grow row crops on its “resting lands” in between core crop seasons, with the first project taking place in Guatemala with white corn, which will be ready to be harvested in July. Fresh Del Monte said it’s currently evaluating hundreds of hectares that go through resting periods for additional crop rotation opportunities.

“We as a company are large-scale farmers, and we’re also big on asset optimization and thinking outside the box when it comes to leveraging all our assets,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer of Fresh Del Monte. “Growing row crops is an excellent way for Fresh Del Monte to leverage its idle lands.

“The benefits are multifold. Not only do we become a bigger part of the global food shortage solution, but we also better prepare our grounds for the following core seasons. We also generate an additional stream of income by producing short-rotation, row crops.”