AgroPages recently had the chance to chat with Nicolas Lindemann, Tradecorp’s Global Executive Director. about some exciting biostimulant questions on the frontier and his views on market and development trends.
In recent years, many biostimulant companies have emerged in the market. What do you think is the biggest difference or advantage of Tradecorp compared with these companies?
Biostimulation opens a whole new world in crop management. You are right to mention that many new companies have entered into this industry. That is very good for the market! Let’s hope regulations allow it for many years to follow because, at the end of the day, farmers and consumers are the ones receiving the benefits of biostimulation: better and tastier fruits, increased harvests with greater quality, easier to manage, etc.
There are 2 main entry levels in this industry:
* On one hand, we have large companies entering from the top end of the market, very often acquiring technologies or product lines, and proposing their biostimulant offer as a complement to their existing offer.
* On the other hand, we have small or very small companies coming from the innovation field or university research that bring a singular offer in biostimulation.
Tradecorp has the two-way entry: we propose novelties out of pure innovation or applied research, as well as a specific offer to complement our extensive range of products. Besides, Tradecorp has a great advantage: over 30 years of experience and nearly two decades helping the management of crops at a global level. As such, our offer is complete, integrated and adapted case by case. In this way, our bio-nutrition offer is unique.
Which stage of development do you think the global biostimulant is at and where are the market opportunities and challenges?
We are not in the very beginning, but we are still in the early days. The global biostimulant market is on the road to maturity and consolidation, with action and innovation taking place.
Farmers and consumers are keen on using biostimulants, but they are not simply going to take a nice label or buy out of the pressure from their local dealer. They want to know what the product is about, and companies need to explain and prove how their product performs as well as how the crop can be better managed. This is the knowledge phase.
There are so many market opportunities at the moment… One must think how to serve the farmer and the final consumer and the result will be a success.
At present, many biostimulant companies choose to cooperate with pesticide and fertilizer companies. How do you see such cross-border cooperation?
Biostimulation alone does not do everything. Nutrition and protection are also needed. By adding biocontrol, you have a completely different dimension in the new game. However, I do not only see this as cooperation, it is a natural move. In the case of Tradecorp and the Sapec Agrobusiness Group, we have been offering crop management solutions in many countries for several years. We often cooperate with pure biostimulant and biocontrol companies and integrate our approaches among nutrition, protection and biostimulation. We truly believe that this integration is vital.
The main challenge now is the interpretation of the interactions amongst biostimulation, nutrition, protection, biocontrol, and adjuvants. Using one molecule without worrying about the other may lead to results that are really challenging to interpret. This is why integration is natural and essential.
Currently, global agriculture is in a downward cycle. How do you deal with future market challenges?
I don’t really see a downward cycle in global agriculture. The demand to produce better, safer and even more nutritious food is on the rise and, thus, crops management challenges are growing. Asia has to guarantee food security. Africa, although growing slower than expected, needs more food. South America is gearing towards supplying Europe and North America with any crop year round. Our worry today is focused on the technicality of crop management, which demands more knowledge, competence and transparency.
To deal with these challenges, we have developed our own model: Tradecorp University. This concept also works as a tool that allows for the exchange of information, gathering of knowledge and innovation within our own knowledge management platform. However, our biggest investment is people. Great people everywhere.
Currently, a number of European biostimulany companies such as Valagro and Biolchim have established operations in China. How do you view the Chinese market and can you talk about the Tradecorp’s planning for the next five years in the Chinese market?
China is transitioning at a fantastic pace. Biostimulants were not a hype on the market 5 years ago, but they are a must today. Chinese farmers are able to challenge you technically in every field! The next five years in China will be extremely interesting! There is a demand for high quality and organic production that is growing fast. This can be observed in large megalopolises, such as Shanghai, where the demand of top level vegetable and fruits is already a reality. In this context, the local offer has to adapt and it is evolving very fast! I reckon they will be producing and exporting high added value biostimulants faster than we expect.
As for Tradecorp, we have been working in China since 2001, where we rely on fantastic local partners. We have been careful and precise in our setup. Now, the right time has come, and this year we are opening our fully owned affiliate. Although we have quite aggressive plans, we are confident that our team and colleagues on the ground will fulfill the objectives.