Biolchim: adjust strategy under 2019-nCoV, break through the encirclement and lead again
Jul. 31, 2020
Biolchim is a leader in the production and commercialization of special fertilizers in Italy and in the world. Biolchim today is a synonym for biostimulants: innovative products in all aspects, in the raw materials they contain as well as in the agronomic performances that characterize them. Biolchim operates in more than 75 countries worldwide, and is a company where Research and Development represent the main gear that drives the whole business activity.
Affected by the 2019-nCoV in 2020, most companies in the world will be affected to varying degrees in their construction and sales. As a leader in the specialty fertilizer industry, how does the epidemic affect Biolchim? In this difficult environment, how does Biolchim break through itself and adjust the follow-up plan? Taking this opportunity, AGROPAGES interviewed Marco Civitareale, Product Manager of Biolchim.
What is the impact of the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in 2020 on Biolchim's overall business? In this particular situation, how did Biolchim carry out related work?
Marco: The impact was very strong, in the sense that we had to reorganize ourselves from the point of view of managing suppliers, supplies and sales activities very quickly. The company has been and is strong, and therefore we managed to handle the impact fairly well, in terms of production, in the acquisition of raw materials, which obviously suffered enormous delays, and also from the point of view of the sales. We managed to keep the connection alive with our customers, with our network, with our end users and also to maintain the connections within the group in the various areas, in the various departments. This is due to the great sense of responsibility, a great motivation, a great desire to overcome this terrible crisis that we and our collaborators have. In this moment of crisis, we continue to guarantee the three fundamental characteristics that we have always had as a group. The focus on concrete results, the great capacity for innovation and finally the ability to provide continuous technical support. We expect this model to still be rewarded by the market even after the crisis. We all remain united and work in the same direction to get out of this situation and become stronger than we were before, when all this started.
The first half of 2020 has passed. For the second half of the year, what is Biolchim's plan to increase product sales? What are the new product launch plans?
Marco: In the second half of the year, not being sure of being able to work as before the crisis and travel we will continue with online technical / marketing support activities and with online customer management. We will be present in a different way but we’ll be always effectively close to our customers. The product launch plan for us is always at the beginning of the year, so there will a consolidation of what was launched in January, therefore the products Vhera, Vhera Life and Kriss Bio.
Vhera and Vhera Life are part of the strategy of supporting crop productivity even in difficult environments, such as in soils where there is the presence of nematodes that create an important stress on the plant.
Kriss Bio is an organic product for increasing fruit size.
Therefore, in the second half of 2020 we will continue to develop what was launched and planned in January.
Nowadays growers in Latin America are increasingly accepting biostimulants and specialty fertilizers. Could you share with us some of Biolchim ’s experience in developing the Latin American market?
Marco: Yes, this is true. Farming practices in several Latin-American Countries are today more focused to export markets. Chile and Peru, for instance, as well as Brazil and Colombia nowadays are among the biggest exporters of fruits to the US, Europe and Asian markets. Farmers to keep competitiveness need often to improve fruit qualities, or to maintain a certain yield even under stress conditions and/or to concentrate harvest to catch the proper time window for exporting. In those particular conditions our bio-stimulants can play a crucial role, becoming year after year “standard practice” for the farmers. A history of success is our product (BLUPRINS) for improving sprouting and uniformity in cherries in Chile, which is today a consolidated solution which many farmers apply to produce quality cherries even in areas with high temperatures. Another example is the application of two of our star products like Folicist and Fylloton, which in Peru are widely used by blueberry producers to enhance the productivity of this crop of which the cultivated area is increasing year by year.
At present, there are many types of special fertilizers on the market. What do you think is the biggest competitive advantage of special fertilizers from Biolchim? From the perspective of dealers or growers, how do you think they should choose an excellent special fertilizer product?
Marco: Our products are developed through the WIN platform which ensures the development close to where there are agronomic problems and needs. So, growers choose our products because they know that when we launch a product, we have tested it in situations, even in geographical environments where their problem occurs. We solve the problem close to the farmers, not in the laboratory.
Could you share with us the performance of Biolchim in new product development, product launch and sales performance in 2019? In terms of international market development, what level of Biolchim's international business is currently at? What plans does Biolchim have in the future for international market development?
Marco: In 2019 the important growth curve continued in national and international markets, and special products and biostimulants saw a relevant increase. Biolchim's plan for the future is certainly linked to the very important activities of the subsidiaries present at an international level, therefore we would strengthen the support to our subsidiaries and continue to develop products through the WIN platform with the help of local partners, distributors, universities, international research centres. This is to position our products in the best possible way and be close to the needs of farmers all over the world.
At present, special fertilizers are developing towards functional fertilizers. Do you agree with this theory? In your opinion, if special fertilizers want to break through the bottleneck in the future, what aspects of attention and research should be paid attention to?
Marco: In our opinion, special fertilizers, in particular biostimulants are much more than functional fertilizers, in the sense that the part that is functional is only a feature of the biostimulant. Biostimulants have a root, an application, that is much deeper and wider. The peculiarity of marketing these products is that they have to relate to the application in the individual areas of use. Biostimulants have to be developed, studied and applied where they arrive on the market.
This article was originally published in AgroPages magazine 2020 Biologicals Special.
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