(Photo: Cecilia Raimundo and Carlos Becco, at the headquarters in Buenos Aires)
Buenos Aires, December 11, 2019. The head of the Argentine branch of Indigo, Carlos Becco, was anxious to introduce his new treasure to eFarmNewsAr, the Head of Data and Technology, Mrs. Cecilia Raimundo. With a degree in sociology from the University of Buenos Aires, she came from the finance market until she landed in the agriculture world via Indigo. Becco affirms that the data revolution that occurred in the finance and marketing worlds will transform the farming sector in the next years.
And he also knows that in eFarmNewsAr we love hard data. As soon as we walked through the door, he presented the most relevant facts of the year. Indigo’s Ag products currently cover 200,000 hectares, half of which are planted with soybean, versus 100,000 in 2018. In general, the company doubled the numbers of the past year. The number of customers increased from 90 to 160, and revenues climbed from USD4 to USD9 million. Also, the number of employees passed from 16 at the beginning of the year, to the current thirty-seven. In fact, Cecilia, who was hired in February, was number 17.
Mr. Becco shows himself proud of the achievements of the company. But, at the same time, he knows he will face huge challenges ahead. One of them is related to the farmer’s access to the credit. “Credit must be supplied by the banks, and based on new criteria, rather than on farm mortgages”, he says, finding the opportunity to introduce the data issue. He is trying to convert the company into one that provides farmers with inputs and information to improve yields and to do more effective management, and this information is useful to channel bank credit.
Cecilia analyzes the data collected by the agronomist. The key issue is to compare the plots planted with seeds treated with Indigo products to those with non-treated seeds. The goal is that farmers willing to try this technology plant ten percent of the plot with untreated seeds.
The good news is that during the last soybean campaign, 63% of the plots provided positive results in comparison to untreated strips. The average yield gap reached 5.5 percent. Indigo’s business proposal is to share 50/50 the benefit of the technology. The invoices sent to the farmers provide a detail of the yield of treated seeds, the yield of untreated seeds, the weight difference, the value of the extra tons, and the amount payable, along with maps of the farm and graphs showing the yields.
Becco and his team face huge challenges for the next year. On the one hand, they will expand the area with their products to between 300 and 400,000 hectares, i. e., increasing the current area in a third or in a hundred percent. Also, they will expand the current 12 product portfolio to twenty. On the other hand, they will try to lower the working capital when they supply treated seeds to farmers. Here is where data appears as a way to facilitate the flow of bank credit to farmers. At the same time, the head of Indigo Argentina affirms that data will determine the way agriculture will be done in the near future.