With spring also blooms a company that has taken root in the Central Valley in recent years. Manda Fermentation USA Inc., the US brand of Manda Fermentation Co., Ltd., a Japanese organic food manufacturer founded in 1987, has expanded its presence in the San Joaquin Valley since it first made connections with the state of Fresno in 2019.
Through a series of business launches, Manda leaders were made aware of the valley’s agricultural wealth and potential. While things started with research and development – attempts to figure out how mandas products can aid in harvesting and harvesting – the company has since expanded into growing a variety of crops in the Central Valley for markets across the nation and arrive around the world. It participates in community test gardens, brings its products to more local stores, and joins the Fresno County Farm Bureau.
Clay Gilpin, market development manager at Manda USA, said the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed some of the company’s planned outreach activities, but there was a positive trend that emerged during the lockdowns. According to an analysis of the monthly U.S. retail census report from Breck’s, an online Dutch flower and garden store, the gardening industry saw sales surge despite the pandemic. Building materials and garden retail sales increased 8.6% between spring 2019 and spring 2020. “We made gardening a very popular hobby because people stayed at home – that ties in with the trend of people growing their own food and wanting to know where the food is coming from,” said Gilpin.
Manda USA sees new demographics as they target different customers. Manda has its fertilizer product Manda Harvest in local stores, including Alert-O-Lite’s new garden section, a True Value and a central fish market. Central Fish may be shipping mandas fermented food supplements in the future. Currently, Manda USA sells its larger fertilizer products direct to farmers for local use in almonds, blueberries and citrus fruits. It will also be used for olives in the near future.
In areas outside the Central Valley, Manda works with rice, walnuts, canola, corn and cannabis, among other things. Cannabis responded very well to Manda’s fertilizer products and produced larger buds on the plant. Gilpin said the company hopes to get involved as cannabis cultivation increases in our area. Manda has also tested its products at Community Life Garden, an organic community garden in Reedley. Manda has several test fields that demonstrate the effects of Manda Harvest on crops such as potatoes, onions, zucchini and radishes. The fertilizer is free to farmers who wish to use it for their crops, and most of the food grown in the garden is donated to a faith-based food bank.
Gilpin said the company is trying to keep in touch with the Ag community and beyond, which is why joining the Fresno County Farm Bureau has served as a valuable resource. “Your publications are very helpful in giving us an insight into what is going on in the marketplace, especially here in Fresno County,” said Gilpin. “It’s a way to create press releases and talk to the community. After all, we want to advertise in these publications because they reach our target market – farmers who grow organically. “
Plans to build a facility in the Central Valley, possibly for an administration office, have been postponed due to Covid-19, but Gilpin said the company is still open to a number of possible partnerships and locations elsewhere. There are visions of creating a kind of hub at the farmers’ market with other companies to join Manda’s local efforts. Gilpin said Manda USA is trying to provide the resources to grow better food while making more money in the process. “I can imagine that this will also happen in Fresno if we find the right partners and the right location,” said Gilpin. “Given our mission and the nature of our business, we would likely try revitalizing an older building and building it in an area like downtown Fresno or the Tower District to implement those ideas.”