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Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo
Negocios Sostenibles

La unión hace la fuerza

La irrupción de nuevos jugadores en el comercio global de materias primas , una mayor consolidación de las multinacionales y los efectos del cambio climático, obligan a los productores agropecuarios de América Latina y el Caribe a repensar sus estrategias para minimizar los riesgos y maximizar los resultados de forma sustentable.

Realidades y oportunidades

Si bien las inversiones en investigación y desarrollo (I&D) de las “Big 4” (Bayer-Monsanto, ChemChina-Syngenta, Dow-Dupont y BASF) lograron avances científicos que transformaron la agricultura global, expandieron la frontera agrícola y aumentaron los rendimientos, los productores se encuentran ante una dependencia tecnológica y de precios difícil de mitigar. En granos, sin embargo?, empresas como COFCO de China o Marubeni de Japón le disputan el poder a los ABCD (ADM, Bunge, Cargill y Dreyfus) y muestran la importancia estratégica que tiene asegurar el suministro de materia prima para algunos países.

En esta pelea por las materias primas, es probable que continúen las adquisiciones de empresas o bien que se desarrollen nuevas plataformas de commodities, creando oportunidades para grupos de productores asociados o cooperativas. Por último, los efectos del cambio climático (lluvias, sequías, heladas, inundaciones, ciclones, menor caudal en acuíferos y nuevas enfermedades) están impactando en la rentabilidad de los productores, especialmente en América Central, donde el estrecho espacio entre ambos océanos acentúa aún más las distorsiones climáticas.

Variantes para asociarse

Es una realidad histórica que los productores agropecuarios asumen los mayores riesgos, pero capturan la menor porción de la torta por su fragmentación, dificultades en el acceso al financiamiento y mínimo valor agregado.
Sin embargo, aquellos productores asociados a cooperativas que se adaptaron a las dinámicas de mercado, a través de transformaciones internas (que incluyen avances en el manejo del gobierno corporativo), logran no solo mejorar sus ingresos sino insertarse en un negocio sustentable. Este es el caso de Copersucar en Brasil, Conaprole en Uruguay, ACA en Argentina, FNC en Colombia, Colonias Unidas en Paraguay o Dos Pinos en Costa Rica.

En el caso de los productores independientes de mayor escala, si bien podrán mantener cierto perfil individualista puertas adentro para obtener eficiencia y productividad, será inevitable que puertas afuera busquen alternativas para mejorar su rentabilidad. Podrían inspirarse en el espíritu del cooperativismo y asociarse para apalancarse de su volumen combinado (de creciente valor estratégico) y obtener mejores condiciones, o bien procesarlo para un mayor valor agregado. Por ejemplo, en Argentina, los 30 productores socios de Bio4 transforman el maíz propio y de terceros en etanol o los socios de Agrupación “L” comercializan leche. De la misma forma, en México los productores socios de Proaoass y de Gradesa exportan trigo candeal o durum.

Si bien el mayor desafío de los agricultores bajo este modelo fue mantenerse unidos, y en algunos casos delegar en terceros profesionales el manejo del nuevo negocio, no solo obtienen un mejor resultado económico sino también una plataforma para armar nuevos negocios y obtener inteligencia de mercado.

Hacia adelante

Es probable que las diferencias de resultados entre productores de similar escala surjan por (1) mayores acciones colectivas que individuales; (2) un perfil más empresarial para producir en forma sustentable y (3) el gerenciamiento de personas/equipos que apliquen los mejores paquetes tecnológicos.

Teniendo en cuenta que empresa semi-estatales y fondos soberanos de países de Asia Pacífico y Medio Oriente están buscando alternativas para asegurarse la provisión de alimentos, en un futuro cercano no sería una utopía pensar que redes de productores asociados o cooperativas puedan desarrollar alianzas estratégicas para tener sus propios puertos, frigoríficos o plantas de leche en polvo. Y como estas inversiones requieren financiamiento de largo plazo, es factible que la banca de desarrollo sea quien financie estos proyectos.

Séneca decía “No nos atrevemos a muchas cosas porque son difíciles, pero son difíciles porque no nos atrevemos a hacerlas”.

*Este blog fue publicado originalmente en Negocios Sostenibles, del BID Invest.


Fernando Aftalión

Fernando Aftalión es el responsable regional del área de Agronegocios en BID Invest, y esta basado en Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fernando es la cuarta generación de productores agropecuarios y tiene 26 años de experiencia en la banca comercial y de inversiones, en Rabobank (México, Nueva York y Argentina), Banco Rio/Santander, ABN AMRO y BankBoston originando y estructurando complejas transacciones en América Latina y el Caribe. Antes de unirse a BID Invest, dirigió el Grupo Agrarius, firma de agronegocios especializada en asesoría financiera y estrategia de negocios en America Latina. Fernando tiene un EMBA de la Escuela de Negocios IAE (Argentina) y una licenciatura en negocios de la Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA). Adicionalmente, fue columnista de la sección de agronegocios del diario La Nación y profesor de la UCA.

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