“To develop a new solution, we carry out years of research, always focusing on the needs of the farmer. Every year, we direct US$ 1.2 billion to Research & Development activities around the world…”
Roberto Hun is the president of Corteva Agriscience for Brazil and Paraguay, graduated in business administration at the Faculty of Economics of the University of São Paulo, with an MBA from Oregon State University.
Hun is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce of São Paulo State, of CropLife Brasil and of Rumos Previdência Privada.
With the completion of the merging process between the agricultural divisions of Dow Chemical and DuPont, and the creation of the DowDuPont holding company, Roberto Hun led the detachment of the agricultural division into an independent company dedicated exclusively to agribusiness, which was completed in June 2019.
AgriBrasilis – What are the prospects for the crop protection market in Brazil and Paraguay in 2022? What are its positive and negative points?
Roberto Hun – Prospects are positive. Brazil has a strong agricultural calling, being the second most important market for Corteva in the world, behind only the USA.
As positive points, I highlight the booming pesticide market, with good sales forecast in the field, the growing demand for food and the constant investment of companies in the research and development of new technologies.
We have some challenges, such as inflation and pressure on the logistics chain, which impacts production costs. The current crisis involving Russia and Ukraine is also a factor, since the current situation between the countries has compromised traditional routes for the flow of resources used in industrial and agricultural production.
In the beginning of the 1Q of 2022, there was a higher demand for herbicides because of the concern of supply shortage and prices rising. High grain prices and higher income in agriculture and demand for food around the world kept the global pesticide market strong.
The exchange rate variation represents a challenge for all sectors, including agribusiness. Even so, we remain confident of the opportunities that the country has.
Brazil is a fast-growing market and an agricultural powerhouse. I see the competition in the sector with enthusiasm: Any resolution that can lead the day-to-day of the farmer is very much appreciated.
AgriBrasilis – The development of new molecules involves a long time and high investments, with no guarantee of success. For example, regulatory restrictions being one of the reasons. Why focus on innovation and new molecules?
Roberto Hun – To develop a new solution, we carry out years of research always focusing on the farmer´s demand. Every year, we direct US$ 1.2 billion to Research & Development activities in the world, of which US$ 200 million are for innovations in Brazil.
Agriculture is a dynamic activity and has its daily challenges, such as climate, soil and regional conditions, in addition to an increasing global demand for food production. Therefore, innovation becomes even more necessary and fundamental for us to continue evolving in the sector.
AgriBrasilis – What technologies and solutions are expected from the Enlist System? What were the development stages and investments made in this technology so far?
Roberto Hun – To help farmers face the challenges of agriculture, Corteva launched the Enlist System in August of 2021, combining high-performance genetics with better weed and caterpillar control.
Enlist E3 Soybean varieties have high yields and tolerance to the new 2,4-D choline salt, glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium.
The new 2,4-D choline salt offers more practicality and flexibility to the farmer, who can use the product from desiccation to post-emergence of soybeans, and has benefits such as reduced drift potential by up to 90%, in addition to less odor and ultra-low volatility.
The Conkesta E3 Soybean adds tolerance to the three herbicides mentioned and two Bt proteins (Cry1F and Cry1Ac) for the control of the main caterpillars in soybean farms.
For strategic reasons, Corteva does not disclose its market share or investments made to launch a particular technology. What I can say is that we are very optimistic and proud of the release of Enlist.
AgriBrasilis – Besides the Enlist System, what are the main investments in Brazil and Paraguay? What are the lastest news from Corteva?
Roberto Hun – We have intensified our activities in herbicides and insecticides for sugarcane, herbicides for pasture, rice and cotton, in addition to the more traditional large crops, such as soybean and corn.
Last year, we launched two products for rice cultivation, the Bim Max fungicide, which provides greater efficiency in controlling the main diseases of the crop, and the Raster herbicide, a tool for the control of resistant rice weeds. We also launched fungicides that rely on Corteva’s strobilurin. Those products add results against the main soybean diseases, with a distinctive formulation that does not require addition of oil, which is very common in fungicides in general.
In 2022, we launched a new generation of fungicides, which has Zorvec Technology, by the Hortifruti line. We focus on the potato crop, targeting late blight, the main disease of the crop. Another focus was the control of tomato blight, a highly aggressive disease capable of harming the entire field in a few days. We also focus on combating downy mildew in several cultivations, a disease that causes premature leaf fall, destruction of flowers and fruits and results in great economic losses.
In regards to the seeds, Pioneer launched the Optimum AQUAmax technology in Brazil, after more than 10 years of research in the country and 40 years in the world. Hybrids P3845VYHR and P3808VYHR underwent genetic improvement to provide maximum productivity under adverse conditions. For soybean, Pioneer launches this year varieties with Enlist E3 and Conkesta E3 technology, cultivars 95R21E and 98R30CE. The brand also works to offer innovations in sorghum and silage. Brevant Seeds, a Corteva Agriscience brand, has a broad portfolio of soybean, corn and sorghum seeds. In soybean, varieties B5560CE, B5830CE and B5710CE were launched with Conkesta E3 biotechnology. Brevant also launched corn hybrids with high yield potential for the last off-season. For sorghum, the launch is the 1G211 hybrid. Cordius, Corteva Agriscience’s seed licensing brand, brought in new cultivars such as C2534E and C2531E.
AgriBrasilis – How does Corteva deal with social, environmental and corporate governance issues? Is it possible to talk about sustainability in the pesticide industry?
Roberto Hun – Yes, it is possible to talk about it and to put sustainability into practice in the pesticide market. At Corteva, we make efforts in environmental, social and governance aspects, reinforcing our commitment to building a sustainable ecosystem where farmers, society and businesses can thrive.
Corteva has goals to promote sustainability across the global food system by 2030. Commitments encompass initiatives in four pillars: Sustainable Innovation, Biodiversity, Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and ID&E (Inclusion, Diversity and Equity).
Corteva’s Good Agricultural Practices area has programs that contribute to the productivity and sustainability of agribusiness, divided into five pillars: integrated weed management, integrated pest management, integrated disease management, application technology and worker safety.
An example of our work is the Expedição da Agricultura para a Vida, a truck that enables agribusiness professionals through interactive platforms. In the first half of 2022, the truck visited nine cities, in three states, performing 46 training sessions. Since its inception, the expedition has empowered nearly 6,000 rural workers in more than 50 cities, including in Paraguay.
Another example: in pastures, we have the Plataforma-S, launched in 2020, which supports ranchers in environmental initiatives. We also have actions to encourage the use of good sustainable practices for pasture management, such as the Pecuarista-S seal.