Los Grobo in the Media

January 02, 2018
The Argentine kings of soy bet on technology to understand nature
Daniel Gómez (ALN) .- In the countryside, any rain or drought can ruin a year's harvest. That is why the agricultural group Los Grobo invests in technology. "We would never run a race against nature. We try rather to understand it in order to mitigate the negative effects of its cycles on our business, "the CEO of the firm, Jorge Arpi, told ALnavío.

In Argentina there are Los Grobo, one of the most powerful agricultural groups in Latin America. Each year, they produce 300,000 tons of soybeans, 100,000 tons of wheat, 100,000 tons of corn and at least 10,000 tons of sunflower. An empire dyed green that bill 1,000 million dollars per exercise.

Engineer Gustavo Grobocopatel founded the company in 1984. Three decades later, he continues in command as president. Next to him, and for four months, is Jorge Arpi, CEO of Los Grobo.

Arpi, a 56-year-old Argentinian, is a national public accountant, has a master's degree in business from the University of Deusto, Spain, as well as experience in sectors such as agriculture, food and electronics.

It must be like that. Los Grobo is more than an agricultural one. It is a reference company in what is known as the Green Revolution, which seeks a paradigm shift in the agricultural world. You just have to see how in their lands, which are leased, the drones monitor the crops and the screens monitor the risks.

On the continued commitment to technology, business plans, expansion to Asia and the current situation in Argentina, the new CEO, Jorge Arpi, responds to the newspaper ALnavío.

- You have little in the company, what are your challenges as CEO?
- My personal challenge is to integrate quickly and naturally to the teams and contribute with my experience and vocation so that the company is always up to the challenges it faces. My first obligation is to put together a team that generates results, which then transcends me and ensures the continuity of a success story of more than three decades. In other words, lead a process that responds to short-term challenges and then prepare the organization for the future.

- What are the prospects for 2018?
- We are going to start the year with the formulation of a medium-term plan that allows us to align the entire organization with clear commercial and administrative objectives, as well as financial and consensual objectives. We are increasingly integrated with producers in the search for answers to the constant challenges of the business and we hope to work more and more to enhance our most valuable resource, which is our people. We are a company of people who achieve goals working as a team and with a culture based on innovation, quality and service.

- Los Grobo not only produce grain, they also offer technical and financial assistance, agro-inputs ... Where are there more opportunities, in the cultivation area or in the service area?
- Los Grobo is actually part of a large production ecosystem, in which our role is to partner with producers to enhance both the productive and commercial cycle. The contribution of the technology is indistinct in both cases.

- Why technologies bet at this time?
- From the production point of view, the expansion of practices globally called Precision Agriculture and Environmental Management, together with the search for optimal rotations for each specific case. From the commercial point of view, the optimization in the integration of the different systems and particularly in logistics, taking into account that we are suppliers of solutions and services for farmers.

- In your business the hand of God is also important. Do you see Los Grobo winning that race to nature?
- As a general concept, an adequate understanding and then risk management is basic in the agro business. We find a first source of climate risk reduction in the spatial dispersion of our businesses, in the diversity of our sources of income, in the conceptual approximation of our contractual relationships and in the selective insurance coverage. Events such as those described occur periodically with different levels of expansion and severity and for that we prepare ourselves. We would never run a race against nature. We try rather to understand it, to use it for our benefit and to learn to mitigate the negative effects of its cycles on our business.

- In the newspaper El País of Madrid there is an article that says that the headquarters of Los Grobo is like those of Google.
- I had the opportunity to know Google and what I can say about it is that we work to achieve creative work environments, modern, stimulating and with people in the center. Each company has its culture and works within the world of its specific businesses and, beyond parallels, builds its paradigm that is unique.

- Is Argentina ready to meet the demands of the modern agricultural sector?
- From my humble point of view and without neglecting the issues of infrastructure and services, which are undoubtedly important and in which we need investments and improvements, our main challenge is to achieve a development model that combines smart integration with the economy global and long-term economic sustainability. If we succeed in this, the rest will not be a limitation.

- Are Los Grobo optimists with Argentina?
- To the extent that society supports the necessary changes and that the government, or governments, work consistently to materialize them, Argentina's potential is enormous and we are effectively optimistic. Agriculture, agricultural-based industry, energy, mining, services linked to knowledge and tourism are, among other sectors, a huge source of opportunities that support this vision.

And Los Grobo, are you optimistic about the future of the company?
- The natural state of the entrepreneur is optimism. When also a company with a track record and valuable human resources is in a sector that grows and generates opportunities, that optimism has a solid base.

- What is the balance for 2017?
- The last one has been for Argentina in general and for Los Grobo in particular a year of transition. With respect to Los Grobo, we have implemented a plan that prepares the company to face, in conditions of high competitiveness, the challenges of the future in the framework of a different economy, with different costs and different incentives. The results are accompanying us and we see the future with enthusiasm.

- Which crop gives them more profitability? The soy? The wheat? The corn?
- There is no single answer, given that it depends on a dynamic matrix that includes international prices, production costs, the zone and additionally the tax treatment of each crop. Soybean still has a significant level of export retentions, and the reality is that sustainable production requires rotations that obtain profitability over time based on a coexistence of different crops, based on the factors mentioned above. In our case, rotation with pulses is a project to which we assign strong future potential.

- You work in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Do you intend to continue expanding? Do you see production opportunities beyond Latin America? In Spain, for example?
- We define as our region of operational responsibility to South America, except for consulting, in which we do not define a priori limits, but we evaluate the needs of each project to understand if we are in a position to add value.

- Asia is in the spotlight. Are the opportunities to succeed there realistic?
- Given our business equation and the current and future needs of the Asian market, we see a sustained demand scenario, but at the same time a growing bid for the appropriation of margins along the chain, which will require an ever higher level of efficiency and competitiveness to the actors. We see a dynamic market, but at the same time complex and challenging.

- 10 years from now, where do you place Los Grobo?
- I see Los Grobo as a protagonist of the growth of the agribusiness sector in Argentina and the region, as a company where young people entering the market want to work and where our people, product of their effort and talent, find a place to develop.

Published by: (Spain). By Daniel Gómez.

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