Opinion / Web Comments

The world of 'seed, weed and bug' companies

By Marcos Fava Neves (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2013-03-21 09:54

This article aims to discuss the major changes happening in the environment of crop input protection and seed companies in food chains, mostly in the largest farming countries (as the example of the USA, Brazil, Argentina and others). They will be called CPS companies in this article.

The idea is to raise the facts that are changing, the impacts brought by these facts and leave an open discussion towards which acts should companies operating in the CPS business perform. These ideas are based on discussions with input suppliers, dealers, cooperatives and researchers in these 3 cited countries and are resumed here.

Taking the example of a large supplier of food (Brazil), we want to address the major facts seen in the booming market for CPS industries. By 2013, Brazil was already the largest world market for some of these companies.

Lets see the facts:

- Agriculture is growing and need to grow faster to feed the 9 billion population, so the market of CPS is growing and will grow in the next decade mostly in emerging markets (South America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe);

- Demand for biotech seeds and specific traits grows within society and mostly traits that allow usage of lower volumes of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

- Several products are losing patents;

- Farm production development has in part been supported by credit supply from private input companies to farmers, dealers and cooperatives, partially substituting the insufficient amount of public credit systems. In markets where credit is abundant (the USA, for instance) this doesn’t happen;

- Barter (delivering CPS products to farmers and being paid with grains) became an accepted market activity;

- Previously called only Crop Protection Companies, now we see the growing importance of seed businesses within these companies, with several acquisitions and developments.

- Farmers costs are increasing due to new diseases and plagues;

- The process of registering new products in some markets face a lot of restrictions from public agencies and NGO’s;

- Increasing risk of regulations towards foliar applications and use of airplanes;

- The emergence of generic substitute CPproducts, coming from China or other manufacturers;

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