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Brazil Seeds & Traits: The Opportunity to Cultivate Stewards

Summer 2016

Cultivation and stewardship are two principles that stand at the very core of agriculture, and which will continue to be critical to the long term viability of the tools and technologies available to the industry. As markets grapple with the need for sustainable growth, there is an intensifying urgency to preserve the technologies targeted at advancing the industry.

Brazil stands in the push-pull relationship between the need for accelerated biotechnology trait adoption to provide additional tools to manage important yield-robbing pests, while at the same time, ensuring the implementation of proper stewardship practices. Technology suppliers are increasingly focusing on the opportunity to steward their products and services to provide long term, and sustainable benefits to all stakeholders in the agricultural value chain. The viability of valuable technologies, such as traits, will require engagement across the value chain to actively seek out opportunities to cultivate stewards.

The rate of biotechnology trait technology adoption has occurred faster in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. After biotech corn was first adopted in 2008, it only took growers three years to surpass 75 percent adoption on an acreage basis. Comparably, after the launch of glyphosate tolerant corn in 1996 in the United States, it took nine years to accomplish the same widespread adoption. These rapid advances in the adoption of technologies have created a fundamental step change for companies serving grower needs. Education, implementation, and regulation of stewardship practices are increasingly important as rapid adoption rates are experienced.

Contributing Factors to Rapid Adoption Rates in Brazil

  • Technologies have been proven in other markets by the time they are approved in Brazil
  • Export market approvals tend to be already completed 
  • High land concentration in Brazil
  • Tropical environment increases growers’ need for traits due to higher pest pressures

Solution oriented, multi-stakeholder approaches across the value chain are needed now more than ever to maximize returns on highly valuable trait technologies. Growers, seed companies, processors, and consumers all stand to benefit from the launches of novel traits that improve both the quality and quantity of grain produced. It is imperative that each participant in the value chain understands the benefits these technologies provide.

Benefits of Trait Longevity Across the Value Chain

  • Growers: More consistent efficacious pest management tools, increased production
  • Seed Companies: Reduced portfolio turnover, improved ROI 
  • Processors: Improved grain quality, reduced number of export approvals
  • Consumers & End Markets: Lower prices, higher quality products 

Novel, commercially relevant incentives will be required to enact the necessary stewardship management practices. The opportunity at hand will surely require a multi-faceted approach including a diversity of tactics such as advocacy, adherence to integrated pest management principles and associated solutions, grower focused initiatives, and regulatory oversight. The effective unification of each will be critical to the long-term viability of valuable trait technologies across the agriculture value chain in Brazil, and the world as a whole.

Examples of Tactics Involved in a Multi-Faceted Approach to Cultivate Stewardship

  • Advocacy: Education across the value chain to advance the understanding of the importance of proper resistance management practices
  • Integrated Solutions: Use of traits, chemistry, biological and cultural solutions as well as integrated pest management principles to further improve resistance management tools available to growers
  • Grower Engagement: A grower focus to encourage refuge planting and relevant chemistry applications to promote trait longevity
  • Regulatory Support: Proper & reasonable guidelines established & enforced so as to level-set stewardship practices implemented across the country

Ag technology providers need access to reliable and highly skilled expertise as they work to proficiently develop solutions-oriented, multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder initiatives that advance useful technologies. Across the continents, through the years, and throughout development and commercialization of traits in the seed industry, The Context Network has provided immutable intellect and valuable insights that help ag tech providers effectively maximize the impact of their technologies. With a firm understanding of the science, the markets, and the business acumen required, Context supports those in the seed value chain to make effective decisions that allow cultivation and stewardship to advance locally while sustaining globally.

For more information, contact Context Principal, Jim Eckles at jim.eckles@contextnet.com, or 305-600-2818.