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 Fabio de Almeida Domingues, Director of Vigna Brasil Group and Debora Leite, Latam Division Coordinator at Vigna Brasil Group. We will put the other interviews online successively.
Please brief us on your company’s business in Latin America. What services does the company mainly provide to customers?
Vigna Brasil Group is a 24-year-old consultancy based in São Paulo, Brazil. Since 1996 we have been providing strategical, technical, regulatory and field R&D services to over 400 companies from different countries and segments, with our core business in agricultural pesticides (either agrochemical and biopesticides), but also covering fertilizers, inoculants, adjuvants, seeds, GMO and biotechnology, animal nutrition, (bio)remediators, non-agricultural pesticides, sanitizers, food, supplements and additives, cosmetics and many other segments.
We usually say that we work as “one stop shop”, I mean, our internal team is able to provide a complete services range from strategic issues of establishment and operation of a local company, managing all the field trials, through regulatory processes and, finally, support in all demands in products post registration and in the maintenance of all company operations.
For the companies that do not have their own entity in Brazil, we also offer registration holding and importation services.
In Latin America, we provide the same services and segments, working in collaboration with a network of selected local consultants in all countries, in direct contact with the regulatory agencies and internally interpreting pertinent legislation, as a triple check to ensure providing consistent information and excellence.
What are the advantages driving your company's Latin American business?
Although Vigna Brasil has been providing services in Latin America since its beginning, Latam Division was formally established just 4 years ago, mostly to offer support to our international clients reach this vast and diverse market, acting as their focal point, I mean the services in other countries will be managed directly by Vigna Brasil, so the clients will just talk with the Vigna Brasil team and not directly with local consultants in each country, reducing the challenges regarding the language, local complexity and bureaucracy.
The revenue from our Latam Division represents about 15% of Vigna Brasil’s income, but as we still consider a new Division, we expect greater growth in the near future.
And we can say that the Group is growing fast – we are also expanding our services to the USA, Canada, Asia and EU, evolving from Latam to become an International Division. In fact, with our very extensive and selected network of consultants worldwide, we can provide regulatory support virtually in any country.
What are the characteristics of the Latin American market that attract investment from CRO companies?
Latin America is a very prosperous region with a huge potential in agriculture (and many other segments), but there are still many unresolved and unharmonized regulatory issues and challenges. Reaching this large market requires a thorough study of the opportunities and possibilities in each country. Vigna Brasil, with its vast experience and acting as the focal point, facilitates the understanding of the particularities of each country for the companies, and advises on the alternatives available for the different types of products we work with.
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?
Regulations are constantly changing to better incorporate innovations in agriculture in a safe manner. It is our job at Vigna Brasil to be updated with discussions and new regulations to support our clients, always keeping them in compliance with the current legislation.
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?
Biopesticides solutions and digital agriculture are not only the future, but the current agricultural situation in Brazil, Argentina and many other leading countries. Vigna Brasil, as a leading consultant company on the aforementioned segments, must be always updated in all segments of cutting-edge technology through the training of personnel and monitoring related events and publications. With experts in biological solutions, field trials and GMOs, Vigna Brasil has a strong and interconnected team that can support the development of innovative biopesticides products, from its concept to commercial launch, looking for the best regulatory strategy and pathway for receiving approval.
What is your company's development plan in Latin America or key countries in the next few years? Do you have any suggestions for your potential partners who would like to invest more in Latin countries?
Our Latin America business is continuously growing, with the great results obtained during its four years of existence. With a great indication among our clients and a communication strategy at worldwide events in the area, we have already been able to develop projects in almost all countries in Latin America. Soon, we will announce our expansion, which we will offer our full services worldwide through the International Division.
This article was initially published in AgroPages '2020 Latin America Focus' magazine. Download it to read more articles.