Ríos Figueroa Consultores: Supporting the Industry with Expertise
Jul. 27, 2020
Victor M. Rios is the Associated CEO of Ríos Figueroa Consultores, a Mexico-based consulting company serving the agrochemical industry. Victor has worked for different companies as a consultant before joining Ríos Figueroa Consultores. Because of his expertise, he was able to work with many top agrochemical companies around the world. Victor told AgroPages that being part of the agricultural world has been an enriching experience, and continuously reminds him of the importance of global food production and the difficulties facing growers year after year to bring food to our tables.
Please give us an introduction of your company.
Our company was established in Mexico in 1992 by my father, Víctor Manuel Rios Jacques, who, prior to establishing the business, collaborated with Syngenta’s Ciba Geigy for 17 years. Back then, he was the Central America División SubDirector, but he had great ambitions, so he decided to become an entrepreneur. Initially, Ríos Figueroa Consultores conducted market research for various multinational agrochemical companies and established our training and advisory division.
Could you talk more about your services?
Market research continues to be the mainstay of the company. Our services are provided to companies established in Mexico, but we also offer services in other countries, such as the US, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, China and India. Lately, we have conducted some investment feasibility projects in our country, as we have enough information, skills and experiences to do so. We focus especially on marketing advisory, marketing intelligence, sales and marketing training, mainly for agro-industry.
Please give us an overview of Mexico's agrochemical market in 2019.
The Mexican agrochemical market has grown marginally over the last four years. There is a lot of competition and several international companies are looking for a share. The market’s value is US$1.38 billion. Since the last presidential elections in July 2018, public policies regarding agriculture have become uncertain and unpredictable. For example, this year, authorities have denied import permits for glyphosate without any notice, and this will surely have a negative impact on companies that trade this active ingredient. More cancellations of other active ingredients are expected in the short-term, but no one knows which ones or when. Another example is that regulatory permits have become really difficult to obtain, especially for agrochemicals, due to downsizing in government institutions in charge of processing trade permits.
How do you view the market position of Mexico in the global agrochemical industry?
Although the Mexican agrochemical market may seem large, there are larger markets in Latin America, such as Brazil and Argentina. Mexico occupies an intermediate place in the international industry and cannot be judged as important under any circumstances, but there are certain submarkets that could be very attractive, such as vegetables, berries, tropical fruits and fruit trees, mainly for export.
What are your suggestions for companies wishing to enter the Mexican market?
Initially, we would recommend conducting research to know their target markets and crops, which are many, especially export crops. Know your possible competitors and pricing levels in the market. If you have competitive products, you must comply with established regulations, such as toxicological reports, tests for biological effectiveness and complete registration packages that take about 3 to 4 years. Distribution channels must be identified.
Will the Covid-19 crisis affect the Mexican agrochemical market in short and long-terms and how?
COVID-19 has changed how companies operate in the country, limiting physical contact and promotion in the field. However, production has continued and so has the use of agrochemicals. Technological measures will continue to be used in the future, such as precision agriculture and the automatization of agriculture in general, due to their effectiveness for growers. The epidemic will negatively affect the value of the industry, although it is currently difficult to predict how much. In the long run, we can expect a recovery at present levels.
What is the situation in terms of international investment in the Mexican agrochemical industry in recent years?
Recently, Japanese companies have been especially interested in investing in our country, such as Summit Agro, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., which invested in the development of local molecules, followed by Mitsui, which invested in distribution services in 2018. Other international companies have tried to buy Mexican companies without success. Possibly, in the future, this will be achievable.
In your opinion, what are the main reasons for Mexico's ability to attract investments from overseas companies?
Mexico is an important country for agricultural products and exports many crops. Although the natural market is the US, there are other important markets in Europe, South America, Japan and China. Agrochemicals are still essential for agricultural production. Horticultural and fruit crops are being developed in our country with great success. Generic agrochemicals will be replaced by other specialties, increasing market value and the competitiveness of participating companies.
Can you predict the situation of the Mexican agrochemical industry in 2020 and in the future?
For 2020 and beyond, more registered products are expected, as well as more participating companies. The patents of various products will soon expire, opening the market to more companies. The market will contract due to COVID-19 but will experience a subsequent recovery. The prices of the products will still make the market attractive for international companies.
What new businesses are you going to bring to the Mexican market?
By the end of July 2020, we plan to launch our first “Online Professional Sales Workshop for Agrochemicals,” as a resilient response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our second project is the publication of our next edition, entitled, “Mexican Market of Agrochemicals 2020,” in which we will share a compilation of various sources that can serve as a general guide for national and international companies and investors. We expect to publish it on the first trimester of 2021. Finally, our most ambitious project and one that we expect to be ready by the end of 2020 is an update to our “Marketing Intelligence Information System.” We currently have a system that offers our registered users valuable data for analyzing the Mexican market. Currently, we are working on a model that can provide our users market values with greater detail, e.g. per crop, per state and per submarket. It is an ambitious project, but we are sure that we can meet the challenges.
This article was initially published in AgroPages '2020 Latin America Focus' magazine. Download it to read more articles.
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