Lavoro keeps Brazil's food crops supply chain working

Ruy Cuhna, CEO of Lavoro Agro -- Brazil's largest agricultural retailer -- on how technology is helping meet daily supply chain challenges

Ruy Cuhna is CEO of Lavoro Agro, Brazil’s largest agricultural inputs retailer.

What does Lavoro Agro do?      

Lavoro is Brazil’s largest agricultural inputs retailer. It empowers farmers to adopt breakthrough technology and boost productivity through a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, such as soil analysis, rural insurance, and others.

The company was founded in 2017 and now has a broad geographical presence, operating in Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay, serving about 72,000 customers, through its physical presence in more than 210 stores distributed in Latin America and with a team of over 1,000 technical sales consultants, and digital, with its marketplace. 

What’s your role as CEO of Lavoro?

As the leader of a company with more than 3.5 thousand employees, there are many roles and responsibilities, the main ones being strategic leadership, financial management, and relationship building. To be in line with the market and possible changes, I also need to drive innovation, bee aware of risks, ensure corporate governance, champion corporate social responsibility, and draw better business strategies. 

Who are Lavoro's customers?

Our customers are mostly soy, corn, wheat, and coffee farmers that seek innovative technologies and products to improve their production in a sustainable way.

Corn is one of the main agricultural products farmed and exported in Brazil. According to the Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (Conab) (a state-owned company in Brazil responsible for monitoring and assessing policies and procedures for agricultural production), the corn harvest in Brazil for the 22/23 cycle is estimated to be 124,88 million tons.

What problems does the corn supply chain face in Brazil?

Brazil is the largest producer of soybeans and third largest producer of corn in the world, is also one of the most prominent corn exporters in the world, representing about 30% of the world’s exporting corn scale, and it still has potential to increase. 

Just as other producing countries, Brazil confronts a series of challenges in its corn supply chain, such as climate variability, inadequate infrastructure leading to losses, logistics deficit, pest and disease, threats that demand an effective management, land competition with other agricultural activities, global market fluctuations and input cost rises that impacts in domestic production.

How are you helping solve these problems?

Lavoro has a history of helping farmers to secure inputs for the production cycle through barter operations, allowing the farmer to have access to sophisticated financial transactions, securing money and product for harvest. 

In a scenario of unstable commodity prices, this might come in handy to guarantee the success of the production. We also offer rural insurance for our customers, another way to guarantee extra security for the production cycle.

Recently, we closed a partnership with Stenon, a growing German agriculture innovator and developer of FarmLab, with the goal to offer real-time soil analyses using an innovative tool that utilises its sensor technology to generate cost efficient on-demand soil analysis in real time, a first-of-a-kind service in Latin America.

Lavoro also has a robust portfolio of products that helps farmers to produce more using less, which is the case of Essenziale, its own specialty brand. With five product lines, Essenziale can meet all the production cycles in the field, from planting to harvesting. The specialty brand serves various crops, among them: cotton, rice, coffee, sugar cane, beans, vegetables, corn, soybeans, wheat, and others.

With 210 stores in Latin America, we are well positioned, offering efficient logistics, quality products, agronomic services and a big range of products and services to farmers. 

To expand our strong presence in the field, we created our marketplace, Compre Lavoro, to serve farmers, agronomists, and other agribusiness professionals. 

This positions us as one of the pioneers in the agricultural inputs industry in the digital area. In this high-tech scenario, in 2021, we launched the Minha Lavoro app, giving even more power to the farmer, supporting them in managing their business.

Advice to younger self?

Do something that matters and will make your kids proud, like helping farmers to feed the world.

 

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