After graduating from the State of Bahia University in Bahia, Brazil, with a degree in Agriculture Engineering, Paulo entered the job market with excitement, as many new graduates do. He deeply desired to start his career as an agronomist and began searching for jobs or internships in the fruit growing space. Soon after graduation, Paulo landed an internship at Frutinor where he was going to support the production of tomatoes that would be made into pastes and ketchup.
After only a few months at Frutinor, Paulo’s old manager reached out and asked him if he had any interest in supporting the production of 27 acres of grapes. When Paulo agreed to make the switch, he had no idea how much grapes would influence his career. After just two years as a production supervisor, Paulo was promoted to a managerial role where he was in charge of 296 Acres of grapes.
Six years later, Paulo made the switch to MAISA, Brazil’s biggest melon production company. However, this career jump did not force Paulo to say goodbye to managing grapes. Instead, he would be in charge of grapes, mangos, cashews, acerolas, and more. At MAISA, Paulo’s department did a lot of interesting work in analyzing new agricultural products such as fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. Learning about how different solutions impacted problems with crops was a key foundational skill that Paulo would do great work with later in his career.
When Paulo’s father got sick, Paulo made the decision to take a job that was closer to home. He became a production manager at Uniao Frutas where he managed 440 acres of grapes for just over two years. Then, Paulo’s manager that gave him his first job supervising grape production reached back out. He was starting a new project called Frutimag, and he wanted Paulo to come work as a production manager of grapes and mangoes.
Paulo said goodbye to Uniao Frutas and made his way to Frutimag. Frutimag became a best-in-class organization, seeking to sell premium grapes to countries all over the world. To compete in international arenas, Paulo traveled diligently to learn about grapes from experts all over the world. For 10 years, Paulo excelled in his roles at Frutimag and became well-known in the international grape production community, but unfortunately, Frutimag did so well that it was later sold to a major investment company.
The investment team planned to completely change Frutimag’s focus, switching from grape production to raising cows for meat and magnesite ore production. This change left Paulo way out of his technical area of expertise and on the hunt for a new job. Eventually, Paulo ended up at ECOSAC, a farm in northern Peru that had only 80 acres in 2009 of grapes but produced a lot of shrimp and peppers. But with the great success of grapes, in 2021 ECOSAC already has 3,000 acres de uvas. Really a very important growth.
During his 13 years at ECOSAC, Paulo played a major role in the grape revolution, which consisted of changing traditional grape varieties to patented grape varieties of genetic companies like Sun World, IFG, and SNFL. He had to learn completely new edaphoclimatic conditions because Peru’s weather, irrigation infrastructure, water, humidity, and soil were all completely different from Brazil’s. But to no one’s surprise, Paulo mastered his role, went above and beyond to solve future problems, and stayed adaptable to keep up with a changing industry.
When younger Paulo finished his education, he left university life with excitement and an open mind. It didn’t take long before he found his favorite place in agriculture. Paulo sees grapes as enchanting, complex, and beautiful, and feels lucky that he has spent so much time working with them. There are many pieces of land that have been graced by Paulo’s hands, and now, we will just have to wait and see what’s next for him.