August 03, 2018
Agribusiness, much more than commodities
For those who do not stay only with the issues of the conjuncture; It represents a very good relief to see some of the exhibitions presented in the field of the week of engineering that every year organizes the Argentine center of engineers. It is a way of seeing that there are people working for the present and the future with projects that in many cases are not visible, but that are in the improvement of day to day and with interesting projections.

On this occasion, under the slogan "Adding capacities for a sustainable world" with two technical days, the CAI's Constantini room was the headquarters where various professionals put on the table the contributions made and the trends linked to the new agro-industry for leave its exclusive link to the exit of "commodities". The head of the CAI, Horacio Cristiani and who was president of the meeting, Gustavo Grobocopatel, head of Grupo Los Grobo, headed the meeting.

The first day was focused on the challenges for agribusiness in the new millennium and showed, as we said, that the "field" is not only commodities and traders. There, in one of the panels, they spoke about the new developments; the agronomists Jorge Adámoli (Ecologist), Fernando Vilella (Professor of the Agribusiness Chair of the Faculty of Agronomy UBA) and Claudio Dunan of the Bioceres Group; the engineers Guillermo Salvatierra (CEO & CTO of Frontec S.A.) and Alejandro Repetto (CEO of NETI, specialist in innovation). While in a second panel on Infrastructure for agriculture, the engineers Rodolfo Aradas (specialist in planning and project of water infrastructure works), José Barbero (Dean of the Transport Institute of the National University of San Martín) and Maximiliano Morrone ( National Director of Promotion of Renewable Energy of the Ministry of Energy and Mining).

At the time of the reflections on the agroindustry and the opportunities for Argentina, Cristiani and Grobocopatel were accompanied by Ing. Agr. Cristian Feldkamp (executive director of CREA), - the three in the photo - who spoke about the sustainable food future, the highlight of the meeting.

In that sense, he argued that an improvement in productivity, would cover the gap of huge difference for example, between the current production of grains and meats and the minimum growth potential: more than 40% in corn and wheat 30% in soybeans and more 60% in meats. He warned that it is through technology that one can go from the agricultural to the industrial concept, "it is much more than changing the name of a Ministry linked to agriculture. We have new products, not only of food but of energy; it is about bio-factories rather than primary production, "he said. In that sense, he understands that it is important to solve several challenges that have to do, for example, with negotiations with other countries to be able to sell those products and to continue advancing in the development of new processes to add value. He also understands that it is important to refound the relationship of society in general with agro-industry. The sector is attacked in this relationship between the urban and the rural. Today no more than 2% of the population works in the field - in Brazil 15% moves around agricultural production - which marks a distance that generates ignorance, fear and meaningless claims that are not based on science.

"There is a challenge for the activity to be seen as the great opportunity to generate wealth, welfare and improvement of the environment and show its evolution," he explains. A critical problem, he said, is the erosion of talents, "we thought of an agro-industry 4.0 and for that you need trained people, something difficult to achieve, especially if a school is 100 km away. and infrastructure does not help and that's how hard it is to attract that talent, "he says. However, he understands that the new generations think differently, are very aware of the environmental issue and are more open to collaboration. He also mentioned the participation of Argentina in the G20, which this year presides over with top-level meetings where the country is located and where the government proposed three themes: the future of work, infrastructure and the sustainable future of food. There, the country is part of a working group where major lines have been agreed, such as barriers to trade. "There are few countries that can produce 10 times more food than what they consume, but we need the flows to be dynamic. Not only are there 700 million malnourished people, but also malnourished people: 800 million obsessed, there is a very strong commitment to work in producing healthy foods. On the other hand, we are working hard to resolve environmental issues. There in the adoption of technology there is much to innovate. Do not forget that 1-3 of the world's food is wasted and this generates a stress in the environment that should be minimized and go to a circular economy to avoid that waste", explained Feldkamp.

For his part, Grobocopatel spoke of the role of engineers: "those who are going to be in the field will not only be agronomists but other branches will be harvesting other things, like the wind. We live in a world designed by engineers, it is a civilization of engineers. This brings us a huge responsibility, in a country where there is a lot of desire to do things that can not be done. The engineers, in addition to building routes, we will have to build hope. We must also be more porous, we need to be inspired to inspire. You need professionals who integrate their knowledge with other knowledge", he said.

Automatic translation from spanish. Published in Nº304, July 2018 of Megatrade Magazine.

Download complete note

Go back