(Photo: castor production in the semi-arid region of Brazil. The target is to crop it in similar areas in Argentina)

Buenos Aires, January 22th. This week, Evofuel Ltd, a wholly-owned by Israeli company Evogene, published the solicitude to register the first castor cultivar in Argentina. The petition was submitted by Dagroti SRL, a local company focused in regulatory issues and technologies field test.

Signed by agronomist and co-founder of Dagroti, Francisco Pedro Ferrer, the petition especifies that the name of the new variety is EVF712.

This petition could be preparing the terrain for the Evofuel landing in the country. In 2015, the company announced an agreement with Brazilian company Insolo Agroindustrial “for the selection and optimization of Evofuel’s proprietary castor bean varieties in Insolo farms located in Piaui state in northeast Brazil”.

The crop of castor (ricino or tartago in Spanish) could be an alternative for farmers in semi-arid regions, as the most part of the Argentinean territory is. In 2015 too, Evofuel had announced “its on-going collaboration with Case New Holland (CNH) for the development of a customized combine solution for large-scale harvesting of castor, and collaboration with Embrapa for research of castor disease control practices”.

But last year, Evogene announced the development of a successful harvester machine in partnering with Italian machinery producer Fantini. Also, the company’ statement adds that “the new mechanical harvester is being developed by a consortium of Evofuel and Fantini , together with Castor Oil Argentina S.A., an Argentinian company created to introduce castor as an extensive crop in the country, and BioFields SAPI de CV, a Mexican company focused  on delivering innovative castor-based bio-products. In the coming months semi-commercial scale field trials are expected to take place with Castor Oil Argentina S.A. and BioFields”.

Castor Oil Argentina was founded by Gabriel Ríos and Carlos Torres, two businessmen closely related with the agribusiness through Aceitera General Deheza, one of the largest oilseed companies in Argentina. In fact, Ríos acts as Institutional Relations manager of Promaiz, a subsidiary of AGD, while Torres was the farming manager of AGD.

The businessmen projects to plant 100,000 hectares of castor in the semi-arid region of Argentina and to construct a crushing plant in Santiago del Estero Province to produce between 80 and 100,000 tons of oil per year. The business plan is to compete with Indian production, based in the use of high farm technologies.