Sergio Acosta

Getting Crops Ready for International Markets

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:09

For the last 27 years, Agroenzymas has been helping crop producers by ensuring their products comply with international commercialization standards. The company specializes in the production of bioregulators and bio stimulants that help plants flourish even when hindered by adverse climates or terrain. “Our bioregulators and bio stimulants help exportable agricultural products in Mexico and other Latin American countries comply with international market requirements,” says Sergio Acosta, CEO for Agroenzymas.
Agroenzymas defines itself as a company focused on research and product development, meaning that there is constant communication between producers and the company’s research team. “We have crop specialists deployed throughout the main production areas for our focused crops, all throughout Latin America,” says Acosta. “They address producers’ problems and determine if they can be solved with our existing products.”
But it is not an easy process. “It takes an average 10 years from the moment we begin the research process until we are able to commercialize any product.” Acosta says a slow part of the process is getting the approval of COFEPRIS or its similar dependency in other countries, where producers have to prove that the product does exactly what they say it does. Once all the prior is done, then the regulatory department for a specific country gives the green light for the product’s commercialization.
“In the case of Mexico, approval processes for our industry can take up to two years,” Acosta says. Other factors that generate more delays are the commission’s excessive regulations, particularly those that place Agroenzymas at the same regulatory level as pesticides. “Pesticides kill things. We sell bioregulators, which are green products that are completely innocuous to the environment and to human beings. We also sell vitamins that help plants and crops grow and flourish when their development is hindered by harsh soil, weather, water and sun conditions.”  
Regardless, the Mexican company does not shy away from the problems that impact the countryside’s productivity. One of its most popular products contributes to the root formation of an established crop. This product came to life in 2000 as a result of a root problem with grape vines in Sonora. Agroenzymas’ product was able to solve the issue. “This problem is very common when crops have been established for several years. When this happens, producers tend to substitute the crop. With our product, we are recovering the crop’s productivity at a 10th of the total price it would cost to implement a new crop.”
Although agricultural innovations have had an important impact in the last century, Acosta says that the only agriculture-related advancements right now are those made by biotechnology. “Unfortunately, the development of agricultural biotechnology is not as advanced in the country as it should be. At Agroenzymas, we have been developing a biotechnological line and we are venturing into a market that is progressing very slowly.”
The countryside and its crops are not only susceptible to innovation, but also fads. Such is the case of organic agriculture. “When a country’s citizens have good purchasing power, they easily buy organic apples for one dollar per pound. However, when purchasing power decreases, people buy normal apples.” This situation prevents countries from specializing only in organic crops. Nevertheless, participating in this trend can yield enormous economic benefits to countries, Acosta says, pointing to Chile, where organic cherry plantations are finding a very receptive market in Asian countries.
Whether in the biotechnology or organic markets, Agroenzymas is ready to participate and despite the US-generated economic and commercial uncertainty that has marked 2017, Acosta is confident that reason will prevail. “Unfortunately, any negative resolution regarding NAFTA will have a direct impact on our operations, which is why we already have a plan B in place. Almost 60 percent of our income comes from our operations within the country. Should the worst happen, we would need to double our efforts in our international operations to shift the bulk of our income.”