By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
CCAB Agro (Company of Agricultural Cooperatives of Brazil), a member of CCAB Participações and Bioline by InVivo (French Cooperative Company), announced a 77% growth in gross revenue in its balance sheet for the 2018-2019 fiscal year ended in June 30th. It also registered a 45% profit increase, along with a 32% increase in staff number.
Gross revenue totaled R$995.2 million (USD 259.7 million) in 2018-2019, compared to R$563.7 million (USD 172.5 million) in the previous fiscal year, and its net profit grew from R$37 million (USD 11.3 million) to R$54 million (USD 14.4 million) from 30th June, 2018, to 30th June, 2019. The company’s balance sheet, audited by Ernest & Young, also highlighted the approval of 22 products by the company, of which 14 are technical and 8 are formulated.
CCAB pointed out that it achieved these results during a year marked by economic downturn, which reconfigured the map of international suppliers of chemicals and other agricultural technologies, as well as reductions in number of employees working in various economic sectors in Brazil.
CCAB Agro comprises 21 agricultural cooperatives and represents 55,000 rural producers of food and textile fibers. In December 2016, with the entry of the French group, InVivo, the company became part of a global conglomerate and the largest post-patent pesticide registration company in the country and commercializes biological pesticides.
According to Eduardo Roncaglia, CFO of CCAB Agro, part of the company's growth in 2018-2019 is due to the creation of Cropline platform in 2018, which generated almost USD 20 million in revenue. Prior to the launch of this business unit, CCAB's market was restricted to its shareholders. With Cropline, the company’s solutions portfolio became accessible to non-shareholders, enabling it to expand its national operations. “To cope with its growing presence in the national sector, new professionals were hired by the company, both at its headquarters in São Paulo and in its new areas of operation,” he said.
In addition to revenue and profit, Roncaglia highlighted another aspect of the company’s 2018-2019 balance sheet, which is the generation of wealth for national agriculture and the Brazilian economy. “In 2018-2019, CCAB Agro contributed over R$500,000 (USD 130,000) in direct tax payments per employee, in addition to the benefits guaranteed by the company, leading to a real transfer of resources to the union, a characteristic that only a solid and genuine Brazilian company can ensure,” he added, noting that this is also a feature of the agribusiness sector. “Real productive economy, contributing to the development of the country,” he stressed.
For Jones Yasuda, CEO of CCAB Agro, the figures in the audit reflect the company’s favorable operational and cyclical processes. In Yasuda’s view, the company’s partnership with the InVivo Group, coupled with its efficient long-term business model, explains its 12-year rise from a union of small farmers in the Cerrado of the country. “We have a very tight structure that challenges us to be efficient. We aim to work only with solutions that we believe will make a difference to our customers. We do not waste energy or resources to just follow trends,” he said. The expansion of agricultural area dedicated to soy and cotton also contributed to the company’s growth.
To cope with its expansion in Brazil after the launch of Cropline and to keep pace with growing volumes of crops, CCAB had to hire more employees. “The market reality involved layoffs, but we increased our staff number by 32%, with new jobs opening at our headquarters and in the field. We currently have 72 employees,” he added.
“It is not possible to feed a population growing at the current rate without food production keeping pace. For Brazil to contribute, as expected, to humanity’s food security, we need new technologies, especially in the area of crop protection, because tropical agriculture is more susceptible to damage caused by pests and diseases,” he stressed.
The shareholder guidelines state the need for ongoing investment in innovation, through the creation of a line of biological products that will meet the needs of producers while causing less environmental damage. The company already offers at least four organic products in its commercial portfolio, and together with InVivo, it is researching new business opportunities in the areas of connectivity and systems and the production of food and natural textile fibers,” Yasuda stated.
One of the company’s pioneering initiatives is the use of the railway network to transport pesticides. “In a gigantic country with the most expensive and polluting road transport system, utilizing the rail network is a great achievement,” he noted.
Handling processes is a constant part of the company’s work, according to Yasuda. As a result, it successfully qualified for internationally-recognized ISO certifications. In 2019, CCAB Agro achieved the annual renewal, without nonconformities, of its certifications from the DQS do Brasil certifier, ISO 9001: 2015, ISO 14001: 2015 and ISO 45001: 2018. The company was the first in the country to be certified by ISO 45001, an international standard covering occupational health and safety management, which was published in March 2018 and replaced OHSAS 18001. The certification was earned in May 2018, after the adoption of a series of internal management processes.
In the same month, the company received its ISO 14001 certification, which covers environmental management. “The two most recent certifications added to ISO 9001 in 2015 strengthened the company's robust management foundation, based on the concepts of social, environmental and economic sustainability, reflecting its constant pursuit of excellence,” Yasuda said in conclusion.