Different Realities of the Same AgribusinessFri, 06/08/2018 - 10:57
Q: BlueDrop Agroforestry specializes in developing agricultural and forestry companies. How do you ensure sustainability in your investments?
A: Purchases and investments made by BlueDrop Agroforestry are always sustainable. Recently, we were about to buy a 3,000ha plot in Tabasco but we renounced the purchase because it is the natural habitat of an endemic turtle in the region. We always buy privately-owned land parcels, normally in the southeast of the country where deforestation had taken place during the 1960s and 1970s. When we buy these plots, we implement a reforestation program to regenerate the area.
Sustainability is at the core of our business and includes our employees and our processes. Our main objective is to do business according to a framework of sustainability, ecology and social responsibility.
Q: What made Proteak, Tropical Organic Growers and Prolade attractive investments for BlueDrop Agroforestry?
A: BlueDrop Agroforestry started as a fund that looked for the best opportunities in the agricultural and forestry sectors. Before investing, we conduct an extensive analysis of the market, technologies and available workers. The most interesting segments for us are palm oil, organic bananas, melina trees and blueberries and with these projects we have raised around MX$800 million (US$41.5 million). We also have the possibility to scale the business opportunities for each one. Prolade, our sustainable palm oil company, has cultivated around 3,000ha of palm oil and we plan to invest MX$15 million (US$780,000) to expand that to 5,000ha by 2020.
Q: Who are BlueDrop Agroforestry’s main investors?
A: Afores are our main investors, having put money into Proteak in 2010. That was the first project we developed. In 2012, when I left the leadership of Proteak, I founded BlueDrop Agroforestry. We are already conducting our due diligence with Afores and we hope to raise MX$4 billion (US$210 million) to grow the companies that we already have and to invest in other areas, such as pineapples, coconuts and other citrus fruits.
Q: What are the main risks in the agricultural sector and how do you mitigate them?
A: We are one of the few funds in the agriculture and forestry sectors that also have the capacity to speak with Afores and landowners. Our vision focuses on minimizing risks instead of maximizing profits because in case of a contingency we have more room to control the results. Also, we make sure that the projects we select have commercial potential and growth opportunities. We like to invest in buying our own land because we can minimize risk and guarantee long-term productivity.
Q: What are the characteristics inherent to the sector that should be understood by a funding company like BlueDrop Agroforestry?
A: When Mexico emerged as an independent country and only had land to grow its economy, it was reasonable for the country to base its economy on agriculture. Now, Mexico is a multisectoral economy and the agricultural sector faces two realities. On the one hand, there are the common farmers with an average land size of 2ha who lack knowledge, technologies and investment capital to increase the profitability of their land. On the other, there are farmers who own 50ha or more and produce legumes and vegetables with high investment and returns. We do not need to buy more seeds or go back to being an agricultural country to boost Mexico’s economy. What we need is to invest efficiently in the sector to make low-producing land more profitable.
If the government wants to change the agricultural sector, it has to understand that Mexican agriculture has two faces and that the industry is highly fragmented. At the same time, unlike other sectors, there are no great players that completely control the sector. We need to nourish the places and the farmers that have the greatest opportunities for growth.
BlueDrop Agroforestry specializes in the development of agricultural and forestry industry, helping companies build their operations depending on market opportunities. The company is present in four continents and in 13 countries