The greenhouse crop sector is still at a very early stage in Brazil, although according to Altair Zotti, general director of AgroCultivo, the country has enormous potential and no doubt, once the problems the nation is facing have been overcome, the market will begin to grow unabated.
"Brazil has tremendous potential; there are many opportunities," believes the greenhouse product trader, adding that the situation of political uncertainty, which is causing unemployment and problems in the automotive industry, among others, is actually just a blip which, once overcome, will allow the industry to evolve. "The economy is strong, because we have 200 million people and 10% of that, about 20 million people, have plenty of money. I've been working for 20 years with protected crops and have seen all the changes in greenhouses. Today, there are really good greenhouses that are very well developed, such as the flower greenhouses, where customers spend more. Furthermore, the vegetable market is booming, and we must invest in technology. There is great potential for growth. Hydroponic and vegetable crops will grow considerably in Brazil over the next 10 years. The market will experience exponential growth. Looking at the medium and long term, Brazil is a country of opportunities. For example, we have a lot of water, which is a global problem: we have the two largest aquifers in the world," he explains.
The moment to invest
Zotti believes that there have been many mergers between companies, such as agrochemical companies buying seed companies, which are investing in their own experimental stations to be able to develop more and more products. Therefore, he considers it an excellent idea to invest in greenhouse technology. "Greenhouses are very promising in Brazil. Embrapa (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria), a government company, is investing heavily in several areas and in several crops," he explains.
Despite the economic situation, the trader believes that there is enough money to invest. "For Brazilian companies working with international currencies, it is an excellent opportunity to invest, because the dollar and the Euro are strong. The agricultural sector is the one with the most potential today in Brazil. There are many multinational companies investing in everything in Brazil: Monsanto, Bayer, BASF... There are many opportunities in the organic sector and there is much talk of sustainability. Together with a Dutch company, Seminis is developing new types of cocktail tomatoes; a new product that we don't yet have in Brazil." Sustainability and organic products are a key issue for the entrepreneur, given that "people want to live longer and healthier."
Zotti mentions that the climate is changing in Brazil and around the world, providing opportunities for greenhouses. "In southern Brazil, we are seeing hailstones as large as fists, and São Paulo has suffered a water shortage for the past two months. There are many types of microclimates in various parts of the country." These different climates are also making producers from different regions use different types of protection for their crops. "In rainy areas, plastic is more common than mesh, resulting in cheaper greenhouses. In other warmer areas, you normally see anti-insect or anti-hail screens, or simply some for protection against the sun," he adds.
"Brazil is a very interesting place to invest. Although we are temporarily going through a difficult time, the government will change and a lot of good things will be happening," predicts Zotti, who expects major changes in the field of greenhouses. "Protected cultivation will have many opportunities. More tomatoes, peppers and hydroponic lettuce will be grown, and there will be increasingly more investments in greenhouse fruits, irrigation equipment, etc.," concludes Zotti.
AgroCultivo is a Brazilian company devoted to the trading, import and export of agricultural products focused on the low, medium and high technology protected agriculture market. It works in every place nationwide and has international experience with Latin America, Spain, the Netherlands and Israel. It also works with technology and products from Israel, Spain, Italy, China and the United States.
In addition to the entire line of films for greenhouses and all types of screens (thermal reflective, black, anti-insect, etc.), AgroCultivo works with irrigation, the grafting of solanaceae and cucurbitaceae, and in pH and nitrate meters. The company sells both to producers and to other distribution companies.