Crop Protection and Nutrition - Weekly Update Brazil & Latin America (02/08/24 – 02/14/24)

Koppert Brasil takes over operation of the Andean countries


Climate and crop failure brought uncertainty to the fertilizer market. Brazilian demand for agri-inputs is lower. “Despite lower costs in the 2024/25 season compared to the previous one, commodity prices are very low, which could disrupt the exchange rate. High stocks in Brazil and low demand also put pressure on the prices of raw materials”, according to Maísa Romanello, fertilizer analyst at Safras & Mercado. (Safras & Mercado)

City Hall of Campo Grande, State of Mato Grosso do Sul, delivered more than 600 tonnes of organic fertilizers to family farmers. “We were able to reuse what would otherwise become waste, to transform it into a fertilizer that guarantees better yields for our family farming, for our settlements”, said the Secretary of Innovation, Economic Development and Agribusiness, Adelaido Vila. (Campo Grande City Hall)

Verde Agritech, the company with the largest capacity to produce potash in Brazil, announced a partnership with WayCarbon to accelerate its decarbonization project. Partnership involves potential to capture up to 120 kg of CO₂/tonne of potassium fertilizer. Carbon removal occurs through Accelerated Rock Weathering, a process by which CO₂ is removed from the atmosphere when it reacts with silicate minerals. (Verde Agritech; WayCarbon)

Drop in farmers’ purchasing power for fertilizers in January, compared to December of 2023. Even so, exchange ratio remains more advantageous for farmers than in January of 2023. “At current levels, the exchange ratio for the main products continues to be favorable. During the season, there was a small drop in the average prices of fertilizers and agricultural commodities, both of which were considered in the calculation”, according to a report from The Mosaic Company. (The Mosaic Company)

Spillage of pesticides caused death of fishes in “Paulo Grande” River, in Corupá, State of Santa Catarina, according to inspectors from Corupá City Hall. Secretary of Agriculture, Environment and Civil Defense, Veríssimo Garcia, said that farmers must be cautious when using pesticides, and should prevent products from reaching water sources. “A lot of attention is needed, because this water that passes through our municipality heads towards Jaraguá do Sul, where the water collection for the population’s supply system happens”. (Corupá City Hall)

CropLife Brasil started an awareness campaign focused on preserving insect resistance biotechnology, also known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) technology. Initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of refuge areas for preserving benefits of Bt corn, soybean and cotton crops. “Although the implementation of refuge areas is recommended for all farmers who use seeds with Bt technology, many end up not adopting the practice. However, in the medium and/or long term, the technology will lose its effectiveness, leaving crops susceptible to resistant insects”, said Othon Abrahão, director of Biotechnology Chamber at CropLife Brasil. (Croplife Brasil)

Agricultural Defense Agency of the State of Goiás identified new cases of citrus canker in the State. Inspectors detected the disease, caused by bacteria Xanthomonas citri, in the municipalities of Cachoeira Alta, Cromínia, Gouvelândia, Joviânia and Quirinópolis. “When the commercial property is identified as having the pest, it is prohibited from selling fruits… until it adopts measures demanded by the legislation”, said the plant health manager at Agrodefesa, Daniela Rézio. (Agrodefesa)

Reopening of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Factory of the State of Paraná, in Araucária, should create 5 thousand direct and indirect jobs. Expectation is that the reactivation of the factory by Petrobrás will happen in the 1H of 2024. (Sindiquímica – PR)

Kynetec predicts investment in fungicides, which increased 26% in the last season, should not decline in 2023/24, despite the downward trend in the market and the lower grain prices. According to Gabriel Pedroso, market intelligence analyst, farmers have demonstrated that they prioritize disease control. Spending on fungicides has increased more than four times in the past 10 years. In the 2014/15 season, US$ 113.11 million were invested, compared to US$ 560 million in 2022/23. According to Kynetec, 85% of the total, or US$ 480 billion, corresponds to the planting of off-season corn. (Kynetec Brasil)

André Luiz Michailoff is the new commercial director at Syngenta | Nidera North. (Syngenta)

AgroGalaxy is negotiating with its creditors to request a “waiver” [temporary contractual exemption] and avoid early expiration of Agribusiness Receivables Certificates – CRAs. Company may break a leverage clause that provided for a ratio below 3x between net debt and Ebitda at the end of the fiscal year. According to the balance sheet for the 3Q of 2023, AgroGalaxy’s net debt was US$ 350 million by the end of September, with a 4.2x leverage ratio. (AgroGalaxy)

The Mosaic Company began construction of a new mixing unit in Palmeirante, State of Tocantins, with operations scheduled to begin in 2025. Project involves investments of US$ 80.52 million. (The Mosaic Company)

According to Fernando Oliveira, technical manager for fertilizers at Tera Nutrição Vegetal, organic fertilizers can reduce Brazil’s dependence on imported fertilizers. According to Oliveira, these products optimize the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the soil, and can increase agricultural yields. “Organic fertilizers can complement/reduce by up to 50% the use of mineral fertilizers, of which Brazil imports around 87% of the total it uses, at the very high cost of US$ 25 billion per year”. (Tera Nutrição Vegetal)

El Niño has increased the incidence of corn leafhoppers (Dalbulus maidis) in Brazil. According to agronomist José de Freitas, from Sipcam Nichino’s market development area, the insect’s nymph stage, right after laying and hatching the eggs, is the most challenging phase for pest control. “Nymphs acquire and carry phytopathogens, which transmit diseases. Therefore, monitoring the crop is necessary as a strategic measure, especially in relation to the presence of adult insects and nymphs on older corn leaves”. When there is a high population of the pest, during the reproductive phase of the insects, ‘sooty mold’ may occur on the leaves, which restricts the photosynthetic potential of corn. “In the case of high infestation, the pest has the potential to make the entire corn production unviable”, said Freitas. (Sipcam Nichino Brasil)

Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil, Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency, and National Union of Raw Materials Industries for Fertilizers have participated in the Fertilizer Latino Americano, an international fair dedicated to the fertilizer market in Latin America. Event took place from February 5th to 7th, in Miami, USA, and brought together more than 700 participants from 50 countries. The Ministry’s delegation was led by the assistant secretary of the Secretariat of Trade and International Relations, Julio Ramos. (MAPA; Fertilizer Latino Americano; ApexBrasil; Sinprifert)

Brazil recorded more than 40,000 cases of pesticide acute poisoning in 10 years, according to the National Toxic-Pharmacological Information System. Cases are more common among rural workers. (Sinitox)

Luiz Gabriel Piovenazi is the new director of pesticides and specialties at AgroGalaxy and Rodrigo Bussadori is the new director of fertilizers. (AgroGalaxy)

There was a decrease of almost 70% in Yara’s profit in the 4Q of 2023. Company reported a 35% drop in revenue in the 4Q, which reached US$ 3.5 billion. There was a 20% drop in Ebitda in the Americas in the quarter, and a 56% decrease in all of 2023. Yara’s report showed a drop in demand for fertilizers among off-season corn farmers in Brazil. Lower demand was partially offset by improved commodity sales. Regarding the volume of fertilizers sold in Brazil, the drop reached 2% in the 4Q, and 7% in 2023. (Yara Fertilizantes)

According to Jeferson Souza, market analyst at Agrinvest Commodities, fertilizer imports increased in January of 2024, compared to January of 2023, at least in the cases of urea and potassium chloride. “Therefore, even though we ended up with apparently high stocks, we still have a good amount arriving in Brazil,” said Souza. “Analyzing the price balance of the last six months, we noticed that MAP [monoammonium phosphate] increased more than 10%, which leaves the exchange ratio above average for now. As for urea, despite rising at the beginning of the year, there is still, from August to date, an 11% drop in nitrogen prices. Finally, as I’ve been saying, potassium chloride is the one that stands out the most. We have a 21% decline in potassium prices“. (Agrinvest Commodities)

Cases of Asian soybean rust in the southern region of Brazil are increasing. “This year, throughout southern Brazil, there is pressure from [Asian soybean] rust“, according to Elmar Floss, director of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences. “Once the disease has already begun, fungicides have low efficiency. Against Asian rust, we win the game by preventing it”, said Floss. “In crops sown later, Asian rust may occur earlier, due to the increase in the fungus inoculum from crops sown before”, said Cláudia Godoy, researcher at Embrapa Soybean. (Embrapa Soybean; Incia)

Brazil wants to be self-sufficient in fertilizer production and this is good for the Fiagro market [investment funds in agro-industrial chains], according to André Ito, CEO of MAV Capital. According to Ito, the Fertilizer Industry Development Program should boost the Fiagro market. “The new fertilizer factories to be built and even the expansion of existing ones will require financing. Certainly, the government, through the Brazilian Development Bank and public banks, does not have what it takes to meet all requests“, said Ito. (MAV Capital)

According to Cláudio Massari, responsible for the R&D area at Massari Mineração, micronization [ultrafine grinding process] of fertilizers can help increase crop yields, especially in sugarcane. “When planting sugarcane, for example, we were able to increase yields through several successive harvests, as the micronization technique allows nutrients to percolate through the soil profile, nourishing sugarcane roots”. (Massari Mineração)

Brazil aims to increase fertilizer production by 50% by 2050. “We aim to increase fertilizer production by 50% by 2050. That’s 40 million tonnes more and 100 million tonnes of agricultural limestone to our farmers”, said the Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Fávaro. “This would generate 50 thousand direct jobs and 500 thousand indirect jobs.” (MAPA)

Fertilizer transport is one of the factors that attract companies to auctions for the concession of Brazilian ports to the private sector, according to the Minister of Ports and Airports, Silvio Costa Filho. Minister stated that the government wants to stimulate national production of fertilizers, in addition to attracting private partners to carry out logistical operations in this sector. In 2023, Brazil imported 37 million tonnes of fertilizers, most of it through ports in the South and Southeast. Paranaguá and Antonina, in the State of Paraná, accounted for 33% of the amount. For 2024, there are plans for 16 leasing projects in ports, with investments expected to total US$ 1.61 billion. (MPOR)

Inspection performed by the Agricultural Defense Institute of the State of Mato Grosso and Public Ministry of Labor resulted in the seizure of 9,000 L of expired pesticides, in addition to the charging of fines totaling US$ 3.3 thousand to a farmer in Nova Mutum, State of Mato Grosso. In Batalha, State of Piai, approximately 115 L of pesticides were seized. According to the Agricultural Defense Agency of the State of Piauí – Adapi, 4 stores were fined. (Indea – MT; MPT)

Brazilian Credit Cooperative System – Sicoob has started to offer its members the opportunity to access rural credit for the purchase of inputs in advance. This way, farmers can plan in advance the acquisition of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, equipment, etc. According to Sicoob, there is a total of US$ 1.41 billion in resources available. One of the main advantages of this is the ability to take advantage of lower prices for inputs at the beginning of the year. (Sicoob)

Technicians from the agricultural company 3tentos visited Embrapa Pecuária Sul on February 8th to learn about projects developed through the partnership between the companies, focused on the integrated management of weeds, such as flaxleaf fleabane (Conyza bonariensis) and smooth pigweed (Amaranthus hybridus). According to Fabiane Lamego, a researcher at Embrapa, experiments conducted in Bagé, State of Rio Grande do Sul, seek to develop strategies to control these plants. Use of chemical products, combination of herbicides, application of pre-emergent products and the adoption of alternatives to chemical control are being evaluated. Partnership Embrapa – 3tentos started in 2021, after the increase in cases of pigweed resistance to herbicides in Rio Grande do Sul. (3tentos; Embrapa)

Agricultural Parliamentary Front – FPA defends the overturning of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s vetoes to the Pesticide Law No. 14785/2023. “We have an uphill battle to make this system work. It wants to modernize, reduce bureaucracy and ensure that we have access to more modern molecules and better products for Brazilian agriculture”, stated the president of the FPA, congressman Pedro Lupion. (FPA)

Agricultural Defense Institute of the State of Mato Grosso released on February 09th the results of samples collected in December of 2023, after the death of thousands of bees in the municipality of Sinop. All dead bees showed at least four types of pesticide residues, especially fipronil, which is extremely toxic to bees. Application of fipronil through foliar spraying is banned by Ibama until the product’s environmental reanalysis process is finished. (Indea – MT)

Amaggi’s fertilizer factory was opened up in Porto Velho, State of Rondônia, with an investment of more than US$ 16.55 million. Factory is already in full operation, with a production capacity of 40 thousand tonnes. According to the company’s logistics and operations director, Claudinei Zenatti, “the most important thing is that now the fertilizer is closer to the farmer. Rondônia is no longer the end of the line in the distribution logistics chain, but rather the beginning, which brings savings to the farmers, who no longer need to import the product”. (Amaggi)

Unigel reported conversations with creditors have made “significant” progress in recent days and that it does not intend to file for judicial recovery. Company is trying to renegotiate conditions of the US$ 750 million debt. “In view of the speculation published in the press recently, Unigel informs that there is no intention to file a request for judicial recovery”, according to a note released by the company. (Unigel)

Galvani fertilizer company has received a license to install a mining and phosphate processing unit for fertilizer production in Irecê, State of Bahia. For the new phase of the operation, the company should invest US$ 68.64 million. With the investment, the fertilizer production capacity in Bahia, where the company has another unit in operation in Luís Eduardo Magalhães, should increase from 600 thousand tonnes per year to 1.2 million tonnes per year. ( Galvani Fertilizantes; Inema)

Vittia ended its 2nd Share Buyback Program. 2,000,000 common shares were bought back, representing 1.4% of the company’s share capital. Vittia announced cancellation of 2.4 million common shares held in treasury, without changing its share capital, and the creation of the 3rd Share Buyback Program. Objective of the new program is to acquire up to 4.5 million shares, representing 3.20% of the total issued by the company. (Vittia S.A.)

Itaú BBA raised recommendations for the seeds company Boa Safra Sementes’ shares, and recommended the purchase. According to Boa Safra’s CEO, Marino Colpo, the company has established a strategic plan for the next four years, which involves increasing the share of industrially treated seeds in sales; increasing the share of seeds from crops other than soybeans, including corn and forage crops; etc. (Itaú BBA; Boa Safra Sementes)

Latin America

Even though import licenses have been normalized in Argentina, the agricultural inputs market is affected by debts with suppliers. Late payments estimated at US$ 2 billion, including US$ 800 million in pesticides and US$ 1.2 billion in fertilizers, still hamper supply. “Debts abroad cannot yet be paid. Most fertilizer and phytosanitary companies are still unable to use Bopreal [financial instrument that tries to solve the problem of commercial debt with foreign suppliers], which is the tool that the Government has provided”, said Diego Napolitano, pro-secretary of the Buenos Aires Business Chamber of Distributors of Agrochemicals, Seeds and Related Products. (Ciafa; Cedasaba)

According to Jorge Castresana, researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Concordia, Argentina, it was possible to reduce up to 85% in the use of pesticides in tomato farms due to the use of biological products. Soil inoculation with beneficial microorganisms, release of natural enemies, tests with experimental formulations of botanical origin, etc., were used. “This change implies an evolution from a conventional model dependent on chemical inputs to an agroecological approach,” said Castresana. (INTA Concordia)

Koppert Brasil takes over operation of the Andean countries, managing the units in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The Brazilian subsidiary, which was already responsible for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, is now responsible for the operation of Koppert América do Sul (South America), under the leadership of Gustavo Herrmann, commercial director of Koppert Brasil, and industrial director, Danilo Pedrazzoli. “The strategy is to centralize management so that, with physical proximity, we can accelerate the adoption of biological control and expand the company’s presence in these countries,” said André Martins, general manager of Koppert Andina. With the start of commercialization in South America of bioinputs produced in Brazil, which should occur at the end of this year, Koppert seeks to increase its local revenue by 10%. (Koppert Brasil)

According to Agricultural Research Corporation of Colombia – Agrosavia, there is great concern among cassava farmers in the regions of Sucre, Bolívar, Córdoba, Cauca, and Arauca due to the presence of caterpillars, especially in the case of the Erinnyis ello species. Implementation of integrated management is recommended, which includes monitoring, prevention and biological control of caterpillars. “Weed control between the rows helps to disturb the habitat of larvae and pupae, while the use of agricultural machinery with disc harrows can control larval populations in the soil”, according to a company note. Release of parasitoids of the genus Trichograma is recommended to control Erinnyis ello eggs, and the application of Baculovirus erinnys is recommended to control caterpillars. (Agrosavia)

In 2023, the company Petróleos Mexicanos – Pemex, from Mexico, produced 210 thousand tonnes of fertilizers, an increase of 650% compared to 2020. Another of the company’s urea factories should start operating in March of 2024. Production is estimated at 855 thousand tonnes by the end of the year. (Pemex)


Company Wants to Explore Potash in the Amazon Region, but There Are Setbacks