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CROs: Offer services, but more than services – Exclusive interview with Eurofinsqrcode

Aug. 7, 2020

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Aug. 7, 2020

Latin America is the most attractive market for both crop protection companies and CRO companies that provide development & regulatory services to crop protection companies. Crop protection sales in Latin America rose significantly for a second year in 2019, rising more than 10% in 2018 and over 7% in 2019. Globally, Latin America was the second largest agrochemical market by region, with Brazil remaining the leading market, ahead of the US and China. 

The strong situation of the crop protection market has further stimulated CRO companies to increase their investments in Latin America in the past years. AgroPages invited five leading CRO companies: Eurofins Agroscience Services, SynTech, Vigna Brasil, NSF and Manexa, to discuss how they support the increasing crop protection market in their own ways and what they are thinking of diversifying their services in this growing region.

Here below is the interview with Marcos de Ferran, LATAM Director of Eurofins Agroscience Services Group. We will put the other interviews online successively.

Please brief us on your company’s business in Latin America. Which are the key markets? What services does the company provide to customers in Latin America?

In South America, Eurofins Agroscience Services provides field and analytical support to agrochemical and bio-pesticide manufacturers, the Biotech industry, and the seed industry.


Marcos de Ferran

LATAM Director of EAS Group

Eurofins Agroscience Services LATAM was established in 2008 and currently has six facilities throughout Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.  These locations cover all key cropping areas offering a huge range of pests and diseases. We are able to perform studies throughout the LATAM region - to date, studies have been conducted in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia.

Key services include GLP Field Residue (including import tolerance for raw and processed products – coffee, sugar cane, cocoa, etc.), Field Efficacy (pesticides, fertilizers, bio-pesticides, plant stimulants, etc.) and Ecotoxicology bee studies under GLP.  Soil dissipation studies are also central to our portfolio and recently, deregulation Biotech seed services have been added to the portfolio in Brazil and Argentina. Our expert team conducts GLP Laboratory Studies to support the screening, development and registration of agrochemicals from a brand new 600 m2 lab facility built in Brazil.

In summary, the LATAM region covers a huge area allowing for studies to be conducted in tropical, equatorial and temperate climates. Added to this, there are many different types of soil, allowing studies with similar soil parameters to the northern hemisphere to be performed.

What is the proportion of Latin American business in the company's overall business (by revenue)? What are the factors driving your company's Latin American business? How will it develop in the future?

There are several factors driving our LATAM business development, in summary, the key drivers include:

 •  A continuous trend for subcontracting regulatory studies due to manufacturers regularly closing / selling GLP labs in line with their dynamic strategies
 •  Biotech support services driven by huge uptake in Brazil and Argentina, two highly significant markets in South America
 •  New ecotoxicology demands – seeing native bees for instance, subject to more restricted rules and regulations
 •  Increased residue studies due to a new approach requiring eight trials per study instead of four
 •  LATAM offers huge opportunities for new, innovative technologies; bio-rationals are one example

What are the characteristics of the Latin American market that attract investment from CRO companies?

Latin America is a very attractive market for manufacturers, and therefore supporting CRO’s.

Crop protection sales in Latin America rose significantly for a second year in 2019, rising more than 10% in 2018 and more than 7% in 2019. Globally, LATAM was the second largest agchem market by region with Brazil remaining the leading market, ahead even of the US and China.

This increased market share is due to a number of factors - growth in population for one and also, an increase in awareness of crop protection chemicals and the benefits they can offer. 

What are the significant changes in agricultural or crop protection policies and regulations related to your business in major regions of Latin America in recent years, and how have they affected the development of the company's business?

One of the key areas where we have observed changes are the recent and increasing requests from the Brazilian Environmental agency – IBAMA, related to honey bees. Molecules have been reevaluated and a new directive was published. New requests might come, now focusing on native organisms, which could result in increased ECOTOX study demands.

New countries could also adopt GLP in LATAM, making it compulsory for residue studies, such as Colombia, Peru and Chile; in Brazil a revision on local residue normative is ongoing, potentially increasing the number of trials / study. 

Also in Brazil, initiatives from health authorities towards operator exposure will require new studies capabilities to be developed locally.

The Latin American market, especially Brazil and Argentina, has witnessed the rapid development of biological solutions and digital agriculture in recent years. What impact will these have on your company's development strategy?

For sure, this is an area of great opportunity - evaluating the performance of such products requires a different approach to chemical pesticides and therefore, a specific skill set is required by the agronomist and scientists involved. In addition, bio-rationals (including pesticides, plant stimulants, etc.) have different behaviors according to distinct geographies. Data generated in other locations needs to be confirmed in each specific situation: crop-target-geography.  We are committed to developing this capability in our portfolio and the number of trials are increasing year on year. 

What is your company's development plan in Latin America or key countries in the next few years? What is your expectation on sales performance?

Eurofins Agroscience Services continues to consolidate its position in the Brazilian and wider LATAM market with the aim of being one of the top CRO’s in this region. Chile and Argentina are the next key national markets in which to develop our services, with Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico among the future targets.

This article was initially published in AgroPages '2020 Latin America Focus' magazine. Download it to read more articles.


Source: AgroNews

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