Pietro Alberti, an entrepreneur from Arica, received the support of the Luksic Foundation's Impulso Chileno program to launch an ambitious project: growing tomatoes in a greenhouse in the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world.
One of the biggest difficulties he faced when developing the project was the scarcity of water in the area. However, after conducting a study, he came to the conclusion that up to 3,800 kilograms of cherry tomatoes could be planted on 126 m2 using only one-third of the water required in the drip irrigation system, condensing the water that is in the air.
The entrepreneur convinced the jury of Impulso Chileno and became one of the big winners of the first edition. He received funding to develop his project and training with the UC School of Management. “The mentoring helped us to better focus our business. We were also able to make the complete investment, which gave us the possibility of having 350 m2 of cherry tomato cultivation in greenhouses, take care of our investment, and reduce the use of chemicals or pesticides.”
Pietro says that it was a year and a half of work where they had to face various difficulties, such as the social crisis there was in the country starting October 18 of last year and the health crisis this year. There were various times they couldn't bring equipment from Santiago and many increases in price materials. “Despite everything, we managed to reach our goal, which we call Hidrodesierto SpA. Today we are growing 240 seedlings of cherry tomatoes and we are already successfully selling all of our production."
The call for the third edition of Impulso Chileno will be open until October 11. In this new edition, the Luksic Foundation will reward 100 entrepreneurs with 3 to 5 million pesos and six months of academic support from the UC School of Administration and mentoring from Simon de Cirene.