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How Syngenta is defining the future of biologicalsqrcode

Sep. 28, 2022

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Sep. 28, 2022

By Laurie Bedord

Launched more than 40 years ago, Valagro is an Italian company that was ahead of its time. Specializing in biostimulants and micronutrients, it pioneered products to increase the quality and quantity of crops naturally. Acquired by Syngenta in October 2020, the investment positions Syngenta Crop Protection as one of the key global companies poised to shape the biological market.

″Climate change is upon us. It's been building for years, and it's only getting more intense,″ says Corey Huck, Global Head of Syngenta Biologicals. ″The Yangtze River in China is at an all-time low due to drought. There is a 500-year drought across Europe. Temperatures are soaring. In the United States, Texas is in a 1,000-year drought, while fires in California are abundant.″

Syngenta believes it is in a unique position globally to make an impact on the way farmers produce food. Number one in crop protection and number three in seeds, the company is now number one in biologicals with the acquisition of Valagro.

Currently, there are approximately 500 biological companies, many of which are regional. About a $4 billion market today, Huck says biologicals are growing at around 9% to 10% annually. The sector is predicted to reach over $10 billion by 2030.

″Biologicals are not new. They were used long before synthetic chemistries. What’s different now is the application of science,″ Huck says. ″The question we need to answer is how do we meet consumer demand with a more sustainable crop and more sustainable food?″

It all begins with the soil, ensuring farmers are adopting practices that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment. Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil.

″Regenerative agriculture is receiving a lot of attention,″ he says. ″It is also an area Syngenta has spent a lot of time and effort on and will continue to invest in. We are working with others along the entire food value chain to clearly define what the fundamental principles of regenerative agriculture are, so it is more consistent.″

Biologicals is a key part of those principles.

″If we really want to be part of regenerative ag and the next generation of where agriculture is going, biologicals must play a large part in how we do this,″ Huck says. ″We searched the globe to find a company that was the best in the business. It did not take long to figure out that Valagro aligned well with what Syngenta wanted to accomplish. It has developed a very science-based approach to biologicals, and we believe that's what the fundamental difference is.″

The company’s commercial modeling also aligned with Syngenta.

″If you're going to talk to a grower about biologicals, it's a different conversation than seeds and synthetic crop protection,″ he says. ″It's more agronomic and consultative. This is an important part of what the team at Valagro built – how it engages with a grower, so he understands the product, so the right expectations are set on how it's going to work, and so he uses it the right way.″

That knowledge also includes helping a farmer understand that the use of biologicals doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. The products, Huck says, are a third option where a producer can use a combination of synthetic crop protection and biologicals that complement one another.

Read the full article on Successful Farming.


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