"Our current focus in the Valent Group Companies, is the acquisition and production of biorational pesticides and bio-stimulants that support the organic growth of our portfolio and be therefore aligned with Sumitomo Chemical sustainability goals."
What new products is Valent de Mexico offering, and where do you see opportunities for growth?
In the last years the current global strategy as part of the Valent Group Companies is to offer besides the organic growth of Valent’s portfolio, new alternatives as Bio-stimulants and Biorational products such as Mycorrhizal fungi for improving the soil health and nutritional environment; also biological insecticides based on several varieties of Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria, segment in which Valent de México is a pioneer not only in quality of the products but in the unique formulations. This business scheme is aligned with the sustainability goals of the company while facilitating the production of affordable and healthy food today and for future generations.
Do you have any star products in Mexico?
Valent's star products are well positioned as specialty options for export crops. Insecticides and plant growth regulators are the top five: Venom (Dinotefuran) for sucking pests in crops like tomato, peppers and cucumbers; Pleo (Pyridalyl) against Lepidoptera sp in cole crops and strawberries; Tetrasan (Etoxazole) with major use in berries against early stages of mites; Protone (ABA) growth regulator used in red varieties of table grapes for enhancing color; Xentari (Bacillus thuringiensis var. aisawai) for Lep’s in vegetables and crucifers. In 6th and 7th place we have another two PGR’s, Retain (AVG) which help apple growers to manage the harvest while maintaining the fruits on the tree with high quality conditions; and Progibb (Gibberellic Acid 3) used in table grapes for size enhancing and quality.
Have you observed any major shifts in industry priorities?
Historically, the development of products for soil regeneration was not a major focus of agrochemical players in Mexico. However, in the past years, industry groups such as UMFFAAC and PROCCyT have fostered the development of a new culture of biodegradable products that protect the soil and ensure sustainable food production for the future.
What is Valent de México doing to combat the usage of illegal pesticides?
As an industry, we are lobbying the Senate of the Republic, seeking greater control over regulations to prevent the entrance of illegal products. These products are primarily imported from China, and we are working with various players within the government sector, including the Secretariat of the Economy, who have control over imports. Outside of our work with the government, we are communicating with all distribution network and farmers mentioning that these unregulated and illegal products can affect their crops, harm the soil conditions reducing their long-term productivity, but very important, can cause several health problems to growers, applicators, all the people involved in distribution and of course to the families as end consumers of food treated with illegal products.
Has the difficult geopolitical situation impacted your operations?
The war between Ukraine and Russia has made the imports of feedstocks significantly more complicated. Valent has experienced real supply challenges globally, particularly in supplying our plants in the US. Our inability to import sufficient raw materials impacts production at a global level and therefore distribution to places like Mexico.
What specific challenges do you see facing the Mexican agrochemical industry?
One of the major challenges in this industry are the cost increases in almost every manufacturing input, as the last part of the chain this increases affect mainly the end user of ag-chemicals, the grower, and at the end what we face are higher prices of fruits, vegetables, grains and the food in general for the society diet. The growth in value terms of the Agrochemical Industry is driven by price increases caused by the world wide issues with production, transportation and distribution of ingredients and raw materials. What is a fact is that not all growers are willing to, or in good shape for accepting this price increases in their production inputs, so the use of illegal and cheaper ‘unknown source’ products can come into the market and cause low yields, bad quality and then less profitable crops.
Is innovation a priority for Valent de México?
Yes, innovation is a priority for the group and is our philosophy as a Sumitomo Chemical subsidiary, innovation as new uses, new niches and of course research in new alternatives for crop protection and crop production. Last year, we were ranked 13th in companies carrying out R&D, and this year we were ranked tenth. In one or two years, our goal is to reach number seven.
Looking ahead over the next year, how do you expect to grow Valent de México?
Recently we initiated a project for potential growth via acquisitions in addition to our focus on organic growth and pipeline, this could potentially allow us to double our sales in a short term. We are also pursuing a partnership with a foreign company that has presence in Mexico, which would grant us to improve distribution of our products nationally.