The strength of cooperatives in agribusiness in Brazil : Interview with Fernando Degobbi, Executive President of Coopercitrus

Agricultural cooperativism in Brazil has played a fundamental role in agricultural development in recent decades. There are 1618 cooperatives that add approximately 1 million members. According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) data, 48% of everything produced in the field goes
through cooperatives. One of the prominent cooperatives is the Coopercitrus Cooperativa de Produtores Rurais, located in Bebedouro city, State of São Paulo.

Founded in 1976, with strong presence in citrus, coffee and sugar cane, with 60 branches and more than 35 thousand members, In 2018 Coopercitrus had net revenue of R$ 3.7 billion (US$ 9,7 million).

AgriBrasilis spoke with Fernando Degobbi, executive president of Coopercitrus about the practices and the importance of cooperativism.

AgriBrasilis – What is the main objective of cooperativism?
Fernando Degobbi –It means making all cooperative members have a more profitable activity with better results, and enabling opportunities that they would not be able to achieve alone. Coopercitrus has a very relevant role in agribusiness, being the largest cooperative in the southeastern region of Brazil, and among the largest cooperatives in Brazil.

AgriBrasilis – What are the advantages of the producer when joining a cooperative?
Fernando Degobbi – The producer ends up having all the support in financing lines suitable for the purchase of inputs, technical assistance and support in his operation. In the case of grain and coffee producers, Coopercitrus has a structure for receiving and marketing production, in addition to supplying the necessary inputs for agricultural activity.

AgriBrasilis – How do you see the current scenario of Brazilian Cooperativism system?
Fernando Degobbi – It is very positive for agricultural cooperatives. They are very important in the country’s agribusiness GDP, and also have social, as well as economic and strategic relevance, because cooperatives transform the regions where they operate. They transform in order to create conditions so that the families of rural producers are able to settle and remain in activities that are fundamental to the development of the nation.

AgriBrasilis – What are the main agricultural inputs and their percentages in Coopercitrus?
Fernando Degobbi – The percentage of Coopercitrus’ revenues regarding the sale of regarding the sale of
agricultural inputs is 70%. Our main agricultural inputs are: pesticides, 25%; fertilizers, 22%; machinery,
15%, diesel, 8%, and animal health and nutrition, 10%.

AgriBrasilis – Where does Coopercitrus operate and what is its differential?
Fernando Degobbi – Our cooperative operates in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Goiás and has the purpose of serving a group of 35 thousand members in an integrated manner, offering solutions with a complete portfolio of machines, equipment, agricultural inputs for all agricultural activities, agronomic services, services with precision agriculture and digital technology that impact the member’s productive system.

AgriBrasilis – Does Coopercitrus have any type of financing for its members? How much does this represent on the cooperative’s revenue?
Fernando Degobbi – The cooperative offers to cooperative members financing for the purchase of agricultural inputs and also carry out a large number of coffee and grain barter operations. This represents 30% of revenues.

AgriBrasilis – What are the biggest difficulties facing agribusiness today and how is Coopercitrus acting in the face of these difficulties?
Fernando Degobbi –The greatest difficulty is to integrate solutions in order to offer a sustainable model in the entire agribusiness chain. Coopercitrus has 37 thousand members, mostly small and medium farmers, who need technical, commercial and logistical assistance. Through strategic alliances with the main manufacturers of agricultural inputs in the world and large investments in digital technology, precision agriculture, we are offering solutions that strongly impact the results of assisted farmers.

AgriBrasilis -How do you see Brazilian agribusiness in the coming years?

Fernando Degobbi – Brazilian agribusiness is a protagonist on the world scenario and will continue
to be, due to the excellent prospects for production and Brazil’s great vocation in agriculture.

AgriBrasilis – What are Coopercitrus’ plans for the next 5 years?
Fernando Degobbi – We intend to work with even more integrated service models, expand business in regions with synergies in the current and planned models, thus consolidating itself as one of the most important cooperatives in Brazil.

The top ten agribusiness cooperatives, in revenue, with almost 1.8 million members and total net sales of US$ 15.23 billion in 2018.