Apr. 3, 2020
Agricultural biostimulants boost plant growth and development through the crop life cycle. They facilitate plant metabolism to improve yield and produce quality. Biostimulants also increase nutrient and water use efficiency, and crop’s tolerance to abiotic stress. Furthermore, they can be used as soil amendments which particularly foster the development of complementary soil micro-organisms. These products contribute to the sustainability in agriculture.
The Italian company SICIT Group produces biostimulants with amino acids and peptides. As a leader of the industry, its high quality biostimulants contain high concentration of these active ingredients, and the balance between free amino acids and peptides is well controlled, which is crucial for plant growth and development. Besides biostimulants, the company also provides retardants for the plaster industry. Its products are exported in more than 90 countries.
AgroPages recently interviewed SICIT Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, Alessandro Paterniani, who introduced SICIT and talked about their response to challenges from current pandemic.
1) SICIT was one of the first companies in the world to use amino acids and peptides in biostimulant market for agriculture, and now it’s a world leader in this domain. Could you please introduce SICIT Group to us?
Founded in 1960, SICIT was among the first companies to use amino acids and peptides in the market of biostimulants for agriculture, of which it is now world leader, supplying the main players in the agrochemical sector. The company is based in the province of Vicenza (Italy), within the largest tanning district in Europe, where it introduced the concept of circular economy: from the hydrolisis of collagen based materials it obtains protein hydrolysates composed by short amino acid chains and free amino acids, used as biostimulants in agriculture.
SICIT creates high-added value products, totally biodegradable, without risks to health and the environment, which meet the sustainability requirements. At the same time, it carries out a service of strategic importance for the tanning sector, collecting and re-using leather processing by-products. This is possible thanks to the work of a qualified team, highly automated and technological production plants, state-of-the-art laboratories and continuous investments in Research and Development.
2) Has SICIT encountered any challenges when developing technologies or promoting products? How do your company cope with them?
SICIT relies on its R&D and production skills to stay at the forefront of innovation in this sector. We partner with our customers and promote an open dialogue to better understand the emerging market needs and identify the most suited solutions. One of the most relevant challenges has to do with regulatory standards: we deal with a broad range of regulatory requirements set by different bodies and authorities across the world. We would welcome a more harmonized regulatory framework across the regions which would trigger an improved industry transparency for the benefit of all the involved stakeholders.
3) Where do you see SICIT five years from now? Do you plan to launch new products, or market your products in more regions?
We want to strengthen our leadership and serving our customers even better than today. We have ambitious growth plans based on portfolio extension and geographic expansion. We are working on new formulations development, especially in the area of soil application and controlled release solutions. At the same time we are looking forward to strengthening our footprint in key markets like China and the whole APAC region, North and South America. In order to support our growth plans, we are expanding our production capacity and flexibility.
4) Under COVID-19 pandemic, SICIT continues activities and operates at full capacity. How do your company minimize the impact from the pandemic on the business?
First and foremost, we are committed to safeguarding our people health; we have implemented precautionary measures since the beginning of the sanitary crisis and we are acting responsibly to contribute to the issue management in our community.
SICIT’s strategic role in its value chain has been recognized by the government, therefore we are not directly impacted by the shut-down. Nevertheless, we live in a highly interconnected business environment, therefore we have to cope with indirect impacts which materialize every day.
For us, being agile and creative is the most effective way to navigate the daily uncertainty; at the same time we are preparing for the post-emergency phase - which will likely be long and very challenging – trying to figure out what will change and how we’ll need to adapt.
If you are in the field of biostimulant, and would also like to tell your company/product story via interview, feel free to contact.