(Photo:CEO of Santa Clara, second from right, at the 5th International Conference)
By Leonardo Gottems, correspondant in Brazil
Sao Paulo, July 28th. During the 5th Santa Clara International Conference, João Pedro Cury, CEO of Santa Clara Agrociência, declared that the company “will be the great Brazilian multinational of agrochemicals”. In this interview (originally published in Agropages) he talks about plans for global expansion of the company, research and development of technologies and the launch of new products.
Journalist: What is the great difference of Santa Clara, and what are the expansion plans?
Joao Pedro Cury: In Santa Clara Agrociencia, the great innovation we propose is to use something alive: the plants themselves, their extracts, the microbiology to protect against threats. The idea is to use active ingredients of nature itself – which led to Eras to develop. With this we are still encouraging the farmer to produce these plants professionally in order to supply the production of plant protection. This also facilitates verticalization, logistics and transportation. Everything we are doing aims to lead Santa Clara Agrociência to join the group of 15 largest companies in the sector in Brazil until the closing of the 2019/2020 season. We will be the great Brazilian multinational of agrochemicals. We already operate outside Brazil, we are big, but we want to continue being a “familiar” company. In this next Brazilian harvest we will make an export jump from 9% to 20% in foreign sales. We are present in 33 countries, including Latin America, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and Africa. Even though it is managed by a family, we have a model that uses corporate governance, that is, everything is done professionally, with managers and executives who apply the macro decisions that we make as a board of directors. We also apply SAP platform, which makes our entire company aligned and auditable. In fact, we are going to go through external auditing at the end of this year of 2019. We have been much harassed by other companies that wanted to acquire Santa Clara, but our planning is of organic growth, using the international expansion that we design to leverage the company.
J: What opportunities do you see in the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur?
JPC: With the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, the requirement for biodefensivos will increase greatly. With this, the search for knowledge and certification of production will grow. This includes a concerted effort to understand the public well, its demand and requirements. In other words, the Brazilian supplier will have to do the “home theme”. The great message that the European Union has given us to close the agreement with Mercosur is that Brazil needs to be less ‘linear’ and more ‘sustainable’. In other words, you must set aside the system of extracting, transforming and discarding. This last step should be changed to ‘reuse’. So we have 64 projects in five countries, involving 18 cultures. The result will be the launching of five organic products planned for the next harvest, in a constant search for innovation.
J: What is the future of Santa Clara?
JPC: In addition to Santa Clara Agrociência, the Group also has the CCA, which we acquired at the end of 2018 and intend to transform it into a technology generator. We will invest between R$ 8 million and R$ 10 million (US$ 2 to 2.6 million) in the construction of a new factory. We also hold partnerships with Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Company) and Embrapii (Brazilian Company for Research and Industrial Innovation), which will enter the knowledge, the technical part. On the one hand, this type of partnerships streamlines, facilitates the process of approving new technologies with the public agencies because they are accompanying, or rather, walk with us throughout the process. For our part, we entered with a lot of investment. We have invested slightly more than twice the average of the special pesticides market. Our business model maintains the channels of classic distributions, besides the direct sales, adapting according to the place. We still have some partners for sale online, but we take great care that this way of marketing does not harm our sales team. Currently our main market is the state of Minas Gerais, which is growing a lot in the production of grains and cereals, but it is still the great producer of coffee in Brazil. In the world, we are disembarking with everything in Europe, especially in the Iberian Peninsula, where we already have representation and sales. It is the gateway to Santa Clara in this market, but many others are being opened and developed, making the family business a true agrochemical multinational.