Our new Channel Development Director in Brazil, Rick Nelson, took part in the World Agri Tech South American Summit on June 28-29. With the pandemic out of the way, hundreds of people attended the event in person. Gathering experts from across the world, this event focused on catalysing the Latin American agri-business transition towards a more sustainable food supply chain management.
As explained in our previous post, direct sales are not the most cost-effective route to reach cooperatives and other Farmforce users in strategic locations such as LATAM. With this in mind, Rick connected with multinational corporations (MNCs) and other players in the food supply chain across Latin America to highlight the capabilities of our food’s first mile traceability software.
Brainstorming with potential partners on the application of our data-driven AgTech innovation at the farm level, Rick raised awareness of how crucial the first mile is to achieve production traceability and sustainability in the food supply chain.
Why Focus on Brazil?
We’ll let the country numbers speak for us:
- Accounting for 40% of the total agriculture & cattle raising in Latin America;
- Being the 2nd largest producer of soybeans in the world;
- Producing ⅓ of the planet’s oranges.
Besides being the world’s fourth-largest food producer, 70% of Brazil’s food comes from small farms. These often fail to adopt sustainable farming techniques, thus using toxic fertilisers, achieving poor yields, and driving deforestation. Along with cattle raising, soybean farming accounts for over two-thirds of Brazil’s Amazon loss. Ironically, a new study found that deforestation will bite into soybean yield. For this reason, Brazil could harness our forest-friendly software for farm management to mitigate its food supply chain risks.
“It’s not only about the Amazon rainforest, there are other biomes we need to protect,” said Rick.
Aside from streamlining the country’s food supply chain traceability, Farmforce matches Brazil’s crop diversity. And that’s because our supply chain management software as a service (SaaS) can cater to perennial, semi-perennial, and annual crops.
Intel on Latin American Sustainable AgTech Solutions
Aside from inking deals here and there, Rick also found the time to highlight the food tech congress’s key emerging trends:
- Issues in Food’s First Mile Digitisation:
- Many smallholder farmers, especially in Colombia and Argentina, are still paper aficionados and not very familiar with digital tools;
- 4G has not been developed in rural areas yet, thus leading to connectivity issues.
- Carbon Farming Market: By applying sustainable farming techniques (e.g., agroforestry, cover cropping, no-tilling, etc.), farmers can improve their soil carbon sequestration potential. In doing so, they can sell carbon credits to companies and individuals that want to offset their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. This not only tackles climate change but also unleashes a new revenue stream for low-income growers.
- Climate Forecasting: Speaking of climate change, some of the participants showcased climate prediction tools leveraging AI and machine learning. As the weather becomes more erratic, these technologies are increasingly vital for growers. By receiving timely insights on extreme rainfall or heatwaves, farmers could minimise their harvest loss. As demonstrated by Acceso, weather data can be easily integrated and managed in Farmforce.
- ESG Boom: Driven by customers and investors, the Brazilian agri-business sector is scrambling for ESG strategies. As for the “E” component, the link between crops (e.g., soya bean, coffee) farming and Amazon deforestation is a major problem to solve. This is why companies would benefit from a forest-friendly supply chain visibility software, like Farmforce.
- Interoperability Needs: Engaging with multiple partners (e.g., cooperatives, exporters, certification standards, etc.), smallholder farmers often struggle to keep up with different software for farm management. While this mostly affects US growers, it may soon spread to LatAm as well. Brazil would be one of the most vulnerable countries as smallholder farmers account for around 2% of its population. To mitigate these food supply chain risks, Farmforce is reaching out to farm-to-fork players to forge a closer and more efficient collaboration.
Harnessing its first mile expertise and innovative tool, Farmforce is well-positioned to be a key player in the digitisation of the LatAm food supply chain.