Source: Global Agrochemicals
José Leão, associate and founder of CropChem Ltda, is a business administrator with vast experience in the sector of pesticides, which spans over three decades of work. The Brazilian company CropChem Ltda was established in 2000 and is dedicated to the formulation and distribution of crop protection products in Brazil. Leão gave an interview to Global Agrochemicals
1. Brazil imported nearly US$220.7 million of pesticides in May this year, showing a great dependency on the international market. Do you believe that this scenario of considerable importation of pesticides can change and what measures should be taken?
We understand that this scenario should be maintained, or even amplified, taking into account that Brazil, for several years, did not have an industrial policy for the medium to long-term. In the case of pesticides, the situation is even more serious because we depend on a wide range of raw materials that should be produced locally to enable the domestic production. Today, we see China and India leading as the large suppliers in the world with vertical industries, adequate infrastructure and low level of bureaucracy, which makes them extremely competitive.
2. The corn and soybean crops this year registered record production and its prices have the potential to increase that will strengthen rural producers. How is this scenario reflected in the market for pesticides?
The grain crop was excellent this year. The prices, however, are at a very low level, a factor that has hampered sales and consequently delayed the sales of inputs. With an expectation of improvement in grain prices, we expect that the input acquisitions will have a positive evolution in the second half.
3. Through a constant evolution and adaptation of plagues to the pesticides available in the market, what are the measures that you think could be applied to minimize the problems? Are new molecules the only solution?
As Brazil is a country with continental dimensions, there could not be a unique solution for all problems. Looking into our regional and climate differences, one solution works well in the south that cannot succeed in the Midwest, and vice-versa. We believe that the measures should be inserted in a preventive management, where all the available tools can be used, such as rotation of active principles, genetically resistant seeds, new molecules, etc.
4. CropChem has been in the market for two decades and has evolved with new products in the portfolio. What are the company’s plans for expansion in the national and international market?
CropChem completed 17 years this year, but due to the long time for obtaining of registration in Brazil, we relied only on six active ingredients allowed for sale. During the last few years, we have worked hard and invested strongly in the development of registration of new active ingredients, having over 70 under registration process, some started over 10 years ago. We also seek the development of more modern and safe formulations for farmers. Fortunately, this effort is beginning to be compensated. For this year, we expect the approval of six new registrations and for 2018 we expect to rely on the entrance of eight more, which will enable us to offer a more complete solution to our customers. With an exclusive focus on the Brazilian market, we intend to grow significantly in the next years with a reflection in 2017.
5. Even with the favorable moment for corn and soybeans, some producers of pesticides are re-evaluating their sale plans for 2017. How are you seeing the moment of agriculture in the country and what is your perspective on CropChem’s performance for the second half of the year?
Agriculture in Brazil has maintained stability in terms of planted area and productivity. The fall in grain prices has affected farmers' expectations of gain in recent years, often resulted in the shrinking of investment in technology. Besides, the market had a high level of stocks and what we are observing is a return to the healthy levels in some products. About CropChem, we are optimistic with the entrance of new brands in our portfolio, which will enable us to offer a larger basket of solutions for our customers with more efficient and competitive products and will consequently reflect positively in our sales volume.