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Much has been written about the aims and objectives of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies and the need for the targets set therein for a “greener and healthier agriculture” system to be “science-based, technically feasible and economically sustainable” for all those involved in the food supply chain. The EU Commission agreed that this will require serious investment in research and development.

Chengdu Newsun Crop Science Co., Ltd.

Grapes, including table grapes, wine grapes and raisins, is one of the most important crops in the world. According to statistics from the International Organization of Grapes and Wine (OIV), in 2016, the global grape planting area was 7.5 million hectares, with an annual output of 77.3 million tons of grapes, a decrease of about 4% compared to 2000. The major grape producing countries include Spain, China, France, Italy, Turkey, and the United States.

ABOVE: Honey bee (Apis mellifera) approaching flower SERENA MAGAGNOLI

Apesticide used to control aphids and whiteflies called flupyradifurone, sold commercially as Sivanto, harms or even kills honey bees (Apis mellifera) when exposed to low doses in combination with a fungicide, according to the results of laboratory experiments published on April 10 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers find that when honey bees encounter both FPF and a commonly used fungicide, propiconazole (PRO), the effects are worse than FPF alone.

Precision genome editing enables the precise modification of DNA in living cells, thus enabling a breadth of opportunities for plant breeding. Prime editors, developed by Prof. David R. Liu and his colleagues, permit the installation of desired edits in a programmable target site. They are comprised of an engineered Cas9 nickase (H840A)-reverse transcriptase (RT) fusion protein and a prime editing guide RNA (pegRNA).

STK bio-ag technologies, Israel’s innovative leader in botanical-based organic and hybrid solutions for sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, announces that Timorex® Act organic bio fungicide is now registered throughout Mexico, with Syngenta as the exclusive distributor.

Accelerating the transformation of Bayer: Supervisory Board of Bayer AG appoints Sarena Lin to Board of Management as Chief Transformation and Talent Officer

Bayer And BlockApps launch TraceHarvest network for agriculture

Bayer announced receipt of the final safety certificate for import and food/feed use from China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for the company's third-generation corn rootworm trait (MON 87411). This approval represents the final key authorization for commercial introduction of SmartStax PRO Technology in the United States.

BASF Agricultural Solutions

VIB acquires CropDesign site from BASF and launches its first agricultural biotechnology incubator

BASF, Boortmalt and SAI Platform collaborate for sustainable barley production


- Regulatory dossiers for Axalion™ insecticide submitted in Australia and Korea

- Active ingredient with novel mode of action and high compatibility with beneficial insects, including pollinators

- First sales for Axalion-based products expected by 2023 in Asia Pacific and by 2026 in the European Union

BASF has started the global registration for a new insecticide active ingredient. The company submitted the regulatory dossiers for the Axalion™ insecticide in Australia and Korea. This step marks a key milestone in further expanding BASF’s global insecticide portfolio and the company’s position in providing sustainable innovations for agriculture. Further regulatory dossier submissions are planned for the European Union, Brazil and India in 2021 as well as other key markets in the coming years.

BioWorks updates formulation with new Rootshield Plus WP biofungicide

BioWorks launches PERpose Plus algaecide and fungicide

With the acquisition of certain assets of AGA (A Growing Alternative) and specific product registration assets from H&I Agritech this year, BioWorks continues to execute growth strategies to better serve customers and support its core purpose of growing their team, serving others and saving the earth.

The acquisitions have allowed BioWorks to enrich the products, services and support they offer customers in all the markets they serve. BioWorks continues to actively search for acquisitions and partnerships that will allow them to help their customers succeed in all aspects of their operations.

“These acquisitions continue to support our growth strategies.” said Bill Foster, President. “We continually look for ways to innovate and differentiate in ways that matter to our customers. These are just two examples of strategies we are developing and executing to ensure BioWorks is around for the next 100 years.”

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion registration for Lalstop G64 WG Biological Fungicide on select greenhouse crops.

This fungicide (previously known as Prestop WG) is approved for suppression of soil-borne and foliar diseases on greenhouse-grown eggplant, Asian water spinach, strawberries and indoor-grown cannabis in Canada.

Containing Gliocladium catenulatum strain J1446, Lalstop G64 WG Biological Fungicide was already labeled for use on several greenhouse-grown vegetables, herbs and ornamentals in Canada for management of these diseases.

These minor use projects were submitted by Ontario as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel.

The following is provided as an abbreviated, general outline only. Users should be making pest management decisions within a robust integrated pest management program and should consult the complete label before using Lalstop G64 WG Biological Fungicide.

Growers are encouraged to follow precautions, restrictions and directions for use on the Lalstop G64 WG Biological Fungicide label carefully.

Agribusiness is the most dynamic sector of the Brazilian economy and in 2020, even with the Covid-19 pandemic, it managed to escape unhurt from the entire crisis that has been devastated the planet. In my 25 years of agribusiness, I had never witnessed so many transformations that we suffered, the forced use of digital tools to increase sales of consumer goods, health, education, and so many other services through mobile devices, affected not only our personal life but also changed our entire professional life. 

In Brazilian agribusiness, we did not stop, with most cities in lockdown, the farmer continued to go on in this almost one year of a pandemic. With that, several opportunities for new business appeared, several entrepreneurs emerged and new solutions were created. In this dynamic and high-intensity environment, it was the ideal stage for the creation of several startups. 

Startups with a focus on agribusiness, also called Agtechs, are becoming more and more numerous, recent research shows that in a universe of 12,000 startups in Brazil there are almost 1100 focused on agribusiness, reflecting the great weight of Agribusiness in the Brazilian economy. In recent years, improving infrastructure in Brazil, such as connectivity, mobile penetration, satellite images, digital literacy, has been fundamental to the development of this Agtech ecosystem.

I wanted in this article and based on my experiences as a professional who worked in the area of production goods, in the distribution of inputs, and on weekends as a farmer, to highlight 13 startups that in my opinion bring something different and a very clear focus on a clear solution for the chain. They are startups to keep an eye on:


Headquartered in São Paulo / SP, Agristamp is a simple and fast platform for contracting agricultural insurance. The agricultural insurance market in Brazil was in the not-too-distant past bureaucratic and very expensive. Understanding these needs from farmers, Agristamp created one platform with insurance products that are simple, accessible and effective in reducing climate risks. The technology in association with multiple Insurance Companies allows to the distribution of insurance efficiently, maximizes the benefits for the entire chain and guarantees a policy up to 72 hours. (www.agristamp.com.br  ).

Atomic Agro:

Atomic is a company from Uberlândia / MG, which started with the objective of creating a database structure, which, through interviews, aimed to catalyze information such as property size, planted varieties, production cost, harvest performance, price of inputs, and much more.

They currently have a database of more than 35,000 farmers, 10,000 of whom interact with the app weekly. This App provides the farmer free of charge: Information on the most planted cultivars in the region he is located in, planting and cultivar performance, social network, and product quotation. With this great potential of customers, I see Atomic as an ideal platform for small and medium farmers (Up to 4000 hectares) who want to compare their productive and financial performance with farmers of the same size and in the same location, and also as an easy and agile way to obtain credit for production, as the interaction with the platform will speed up contact with credit providers. (www.atomicagro.com)

Bart Digital:

Bart digital is headquartered in Londrina / PR and was created to solve problems in the financing processes, we all know how bureaucratic Brazil is, and Bart's solution mainly regarding receivables and guarantees issues brought reliability and agility to the system. Among Bart Digital's main achievements, I highlight the creation of the first digital CPR that saved time and money for the farmer, the distributor, and the companies that work with this asset as a way of securing the business. In my experience, using this tool has reduced the time required to formalize these guarantees by 75%. (www.bartdigital.com.br)


DigiFarmz is a digital platform created by one of the largest Fitopathologists in Brazil, Ricardo Balardin, who has used more than 18 biotic and abiotic factors to support the farmer for decision making. Through research data, climatological information, cultivar genetics, sowing dates, location, and other parameters, this tool presents intelligent recommendations that help producers, agronomists, and consultants in the phytosanitary management of soybean diseases. The platform advises on what to use (fungicides, mixtures, etc.), when (ideal date of each spray), how much (number of sprays to be carried out), and on anti-resistance management. And the database (crowdsourcing + field research), which is constantly expanding, also makes it possible to optimize resources and investments in farming, helping to reduce the impact on the environment. (www.digifarmz.com)

Flex Interativa:

The interactive Flex is located in SP and has as a proposition one great appeal to agribusiness: “Ideas that can be touched”. 

Have you ever thought about the possibility of real objects interacting with virtual objects? We learn agronomy in a way that makes it difficult to imagine how the products interacted within the plant, how the different products and modes of action acted, or even how the plants did the metabolism. These technologies will help us to better understand these factors and better train technicians and farmers, in addition to being able to be much more agile, flexible, and efficient on field days, training and training. 

In my opinion, these technologies will initially be used by manufacturers, but it can also be used by farmers, who visited Jolimont winery (www.tourduvin.tur.br) in Canela / RS, can see what virtual reality can do to delight consumers. (www.flexinterativa.com.br)


The biggest difficulty in logistics today, despite the dependence on highways, distance from routes, deficient infrastructure, and old and inadequate processes is that the costs are very high in the entire work process. 

From imported Crop Inputs to the amounts spent on vehicle maintenance, the Farmers and Agri-companies face challenges and difficulties in reducing costs. Go Flux, the unique Logtech in my list, it is a startup founded in 2018 and elected one of the 100 best startups in Brazil, was born out of this non-conformity of doing things always the same way. Why has freight been contracted the same way for years? Why hasn't the digital revolution changed the shape of these operations yet? Why haven't we had innovative solutions on this topic yet? 

Go Flux tries to provide more transparency, agility, and increased efficiency through a platform that allows making BIDs, with a closed Market Place, including the parameters appropriate to your business, data of your demand, and an indication of the price to be paid for the route. With the involvement of several suppliers in dynamic quotes 100% online, you can view bids in real-time. The main benefits are Intelligence and compliance of operations, Reduction of costs, and gain in competitiveness. In my previous company, for example, we had a reduction of 8% for all our logistic cost. (www.goflux.com.br)

Grão Direto:

Grão Direto was created in Uberaba and gained notoriety for being the only Brazilian startup to be invited to BlackBox Connect, an immersion program in Silicon Valley. Besides, it was also called for the Scale-Up acceleration program (Algar+Endeavor). Her goal is to connect farmers, buyers, brokers, and warehouses making the purchase and sale of corn, soy, sorghum, and other grains more modern and safe. 

Everyone has access to the best information to trade and the more informed they are, the greater their chances of making the best deals. Through technology, sellers and buyers can negotiate grains much more quickly and efficiently, both for negotiations in the available market, forward or barter. 

Grão Direto was created to support all the profiles of the chain: cooperatives, tradings, resellers, traditional brokers, feed factories, stockholders, traders, and much more, generating gains in market intelligence for producers and buyers to make the best decisions and more agility in processes associated with commercialization (logistics, contract management, financial products and more). (www.graodireto.com.br)


It is an AgriTech founded in 2019 in the city of Alfenas / MG, which develops technologies to revolutionize agribusiness, making life easier for people in the countryside. It provides the farmer (Cattleman) with tools to make decisions quickly, easily, accurately, and efficiently. One of the products that most stands out in my opinion and that uses the technology of the internet of things are the necklaces for cattle, the smart scales, and the sensors of behavior and reproduction, where the farmer has access in real-time and from any location to your entire squad and can improve resources by avoiding waste of time and resources. (www.inovafarm.com.br)


One of the greatest lessons learned from this crisis is that consumers and importing countries will increasingly the use of  phytosanitary barriers to regulate markets and their respective internal deficiencies and trade balance. 

Based on this, for the Brazilian farmer, it is not enough to produce well anymore, we will have to prove that we produce well and sustainably. Safe Trace is a company from Itajubá / MG, specialized in the traceability of the food production chain, integrating information from all links, from the producer to the consumer's dish. When purchasing products with the Safe Trace seal, you will know where the food consumed comes from; in addition to making sure that the producer is acting by socio-environmental and health standards, thanks to a strict monitoring process. 

Another technology that has been developed by safetrace and that promises superior results is the block chain solution, which can be used in the entire production chain, including raw material production, industrialization, and commercialization. This technology will be able to register, store, organize, track, and make available information collected along the chain, from the implementation in the field to the final stages of production. (www.safetrace.com.br)


Seedz is headquartered in Belo Horizonte (MG), founded in 2017, and has developed loyalty software that values the relationship between farmers and ranchers with agribusiness companies and also from other sectors, a company that has innovation as its main asset. The solution is very simple when buying products from partner companies, a seedz accumulates a virtual currency, which can be exchanged on the platform for products and even courses, thus encouraging these producers to reinvest in their farms, creating thus a new model of buying and selling focused on trust and transparency. 

The positive point is that it is a multi-brand platform, allowing for greater optimization, diversification, and customization of programs, including easy adaptation to a proprietary market place. Another attraction that Seedz offers, is that its incentive platform through gamification and customization can be easily implemented and with a better cost-benefit.

All of this with just a common fashion, which is Seedz, making the business environment more transparent and accessible to everyone. The platform is already used by more than 60 thousand registered producers from all over Brazil and also 5,000 professionals in the sector. Also, there are already 300 companies registered in different segments of the agribusiness such as seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, financial services, animal health and nutrition, machinery, equipment, logistics, among other solutions. The highlight for multinationals such as UPL, Yara, John Deere, Agro Galaxy, Helm, Agro100, Agro Ferrari and cooperatives such as Cocamar. (www.seedz.ag)


The market for crop protection products in Brazil is around the US $12 billion and is growing at around 2-4% per year and has been suffering several restrictions in recent years. As a result, the increase in demand for more sustainable products and alternatives to chemicals in agriculture drives the market for biological pesticides, not only in Brazil but in the world. 

A survey by the consultancy Spark Inteligência Estrategica and released in October showed that the Brazilian market moved almost US $ 200 million in the 2019/20 harvest, 46% more than in the previous season. In this sense, the area potentially treated with biologicals increased by 23%, to 19.4 million hectares. 

With this growing market, a technology that seems promising to me is that which allows the farmer to produce biological pesticides on his farm, reducing the costs with these inputs in soy, corn, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, coffee, etc..by up to 40%. With the technology of Solubio, a startup founded in Gurupi / TO, the “bio-factories” that are automated equipment for the multiplication of bacteria, can be customized according to the customer's needs. Currently, the company serves 100 large producers in an area of 1 million hectares and with 150 biofactories installed. (www.solubio.agr.br)

Terra Magna

Terra Magna is a geospatial Big Data company from São José dos Campos / SP, focused on the agricultural and forestry sector, which uses satellite images to measure, predict and control biological assets, generating insights for the agribusiness chain. 

The company improves field operations by monitoring weed infestations on planted areas and performing risk management for agribusiness financiers. By combining cloud computing and satellite images with the remote sensing industry, Terra Magna enables farmers and other players to better understand their land, their businesses, and the entire market, through maps with the status of cultivated land. 

The proposal is to offer greater security to banks, cooperatives, and agro-industries in financial operations and the management of collateral loans for agribusiness. It is essential in the environment of agribusiness in Brazil.

The solution also serves the Farmer/Producer , who can use the data to be able to access lower interest rates. 22,000 farms are monitored weekly. (www.terramagna.com.br).


Traive is another AGfinTech that will “Thrive” due to the size of the market and the constant need for capital by farmers. Founded in 2018, the company facilitates loans to the agriculture industry, offering to both farmers and lenders innovative financial solutions and unique access to marketplace lending. Recently received a contribution of R$ 14 Mio from SP Ventures that will be used to increase the team and invest in technology. Today two cooperatives and seven dealers will use Traive’s solution and the expectative for 2021 is to increase by more than 30. 

With offices in São Paulo, Minneapolis, and Boston. Traive also comes to fulfill one important gap in the sector. Remembering that the more credit the more will be the investments in technology, crop inputs, and productivity by the farmer. (www. traivefinance.com)

It is worth remembering that 2020 was the year with the largest number of mergers and acquisitions of Brazilian startups in all, more than 100 M&A of startups were carried out in the last nine months but none of the major investments were in the agribusiness segment. 

The investments were in sectors that benefited from the new consumer habits, be they financial: (US$ 300 million for fintech Neon and R$ 1.3 billion for C6 Bank), of electronic retail, (US$ 225 million for the e-commerce platform VTEX) and games, such as the unicorn (Wildlife, with a contribution of US $ 120 million). To get an idea of values, the Higher contribution to an Agtech in Latin America was that of the Brazilian Solifintech, which at the beginning of 2020 raised US$ 60 million and almost exceeded the total of last year in contribution to the category, followed weeks later for Argentinean Agrofy, which received US$ 23 million for its marketplace. 

In a huge and bureaucratic market such as that of Brazilian agribusiness, innovation within large companies is a costly and time-consuming process.

I leave here my suggestion of companies that have all the potential for growth and acceptance by agribusiness players and who may have the same success as Adtechs and Fintechs.

With a new strategic partnership, Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative (FVC) is launching a line of crop inputs with VantagePoint. 

The branded products include WatchTower ST seed treatments, StandKing plant growth regulator, OutPost drift control, water conditioners, surfactants, and RoyalGreen micronutrients nutritionals, which are all now available for sale through FVC’s advisors. 

“Through the VantagePoint brand, FVC will be positioned to provide customers with the most agronomically-sound chemistry at a cost point that lowers their cost without compromising performance,” said John Bender, Frenchman Valley CEO in a news release. “FVC will be better able to provide the necessary crop enhancement products and further grow our relationships with our customers.”

Ben Sauder FVC Vice President of Agronomy said the new products are well suited for the geography and agronomic challenges in FVC’s area of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. 

“We have devoted years and countless resources into providing our growers with the most logical solutions to our tough problems,” Sauder said. “We have a very thorough evaluation process that we run all chemicals and enhancement products through before we sell them. If something does not work. We want to find that out in our evaluations, not on one of our customer’s acres.”

With the launch of these branded products, the cooperative aims to continue to grow its business. 

“These branded-label products will be produced specifically for us and will fit well into our long-term strategy of serving members/customers all across our four-state service area,” said Jim Haarberg, Chairman of the FVC Board of Directors. 

This launch is in partnership with Meristem Crop Performance.

Symborg recruits Francisco Javier García Domínguez as new Chief Marketing Officer

Urdecon to build first phase of Symborg's new €28m plant

Symborg is a leading company in the biotechnology applied to agriculture sector with presence in more than 50 countries. Thanks to SOPEF’s entry, Symborg strengthens its shareholding structure and obtains financial support as part of its strategic growth and expansion plan. Spain Oman Private Equity Fund (“SOPEF”), the investment fund managed by MCH Private Equity has completed its fourth transaction through the investment in Symborg.

Symborg was established in Murcia in 2009 and is a leading company specialised in biotechnology research and development with agricultural innovation, providing farmers innovative solutions that optimize their crops and ensure the conservation of their habitats and ecosystems. Symborg has established itself as a world reference in the development of biostimulants based on microorganisms whereby the applications to agricultural uses are patent protected.

Over the last years, the Company has evolved from its first products based on mycorrhizal fungi to the development of biofertilizers such as BlueN, which allows the plant to naturally nourish itself with nitrogen, reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizers through a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution.

In this new stage, SOPEF and Symborg’s shareholders aim to promote and consolidate the international growth strategy of the Company, taking advantage of the industry trends which are evolving towards sustainable solutions. The objective is to meet the food demand of a growing population facing the challenges that climate change will present in the coming years.

As a result of the agreement, Symborg reinforces its shareholding structure by a strategic partner who adds a markable contributions to continue supporting the company's expansion plan. The expansion plan includes the construction of a production plant in Alhama de Murcia to incorporate new products into the existing portfolio. This will facilitate the international consolidation to key agricultural markets such as the United States and Latin America.

According to Jesús Juárez, founding partner and CEO of Symborg, “Our objectives of growth, professionalism and leadership find in the SOPEF Fund a great ally. The commitment of this prestigious fund with Symborg reinforces our strategic plan, which will consolidate us as international leaders in agricultural biotechnology in the coming years.”

Jesús Juárez, founding partner and CEO of Symborg

According to Jose Manuel de Bartolome, Partner of SOPEF, “Symborg meets all the requirements that are sought in private equity investments. It is a growth project, born purely from an entrepreneurship consolidated by development of proprietary technology. The market presents great opportunities in the coming years and the Company has a top-level management team who have in mind a very defined business plan to undertake”.


Spain Oman Private Equity Fund – SOPEF was constituted in 2018 with the ultimate objective of supporting the international development of Spanish companies through the acquisition of temporary minority stakes. The fund’s investors are COFIDES, FIEX and the Oman Investment Authority and count with a total capital commitment of 200 million euros. The fund is managed by MCH Private Equity Investments, one of the leading Iberian private equity firms focused on mid-sized companies.

The Compañía Española de Financiación al Desarrollo (“COFIDES”) is a state-owned company which offers financial support to Spanish companies investing abroad. It is the exclusive manager of FIEX and FONPYME funds on behalf of the Secretariat of State for Trade attached to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America.

Oman Investment Authority (OIA) was established in June 2020 by merging the 'State General Reserve Fund' and 'Oman Investment Fund', under the Royal Decree No. 61/2020. OIA is the sovereign wealth fund of Oman which invests locally and internationally to achieve financial stability and diversity for the Sultanates economy. OIA aims to be a substantial resource that provides financial stability and diversity to the country’s economy while ensuring the continued development of the country by investing in a diversified portfolio of asset types in about 35 countries worldwide.

About Symborg 

Founded in Murcia in 2009 by Jesús Juárez and Félix Fernández, both with vast professional careers in the fields of research and agriculture, Symborg has consolidated itself as a leading company in the sector of biotechnology and agricultural innovation with presence in more than 50 countries.

Symborg produces and markets exclusive fertilizers based on natural biological processes that strengthen the roots of plants and improve their physiological activity, increasing the production and quality of the crops. Based on natural processes, Symborg's products are 100% sustainable and benefit the environment.

BioForest/Lallemand Inc. (BioForest) registers LALCIDE CHONDRO bioherbicide for control of glossy and common buckthorn in Canada. The herbicide is a biological solution that provides land managers a more environmentally sensitive option to combat buckthorn.

The active ingredient is a naturally occurring wood decay fungus called Chondrostereum purpureum (Cp), which can colonize freshly cut stumps and wounds. The Cp causes silver leaf disease on stump sprouts post-harvest. It does this by releasing an enzyme which disrupts the middle lamella between the epidermal cells and palisade cells of the leaves, causing the two layers to separate. The change in cell arrangement results in a change of reflectivity of the leaf, resulting in a silvered appearance. This will control and inhibit the stump sprouts.

Buckthorn is an invasive shrub or small tree species in North America. It grows vigorously and spreads aggressively, invading urban and commercial forests, road and trail sides, riverbanks, pastures and hydro corridors. Buckthorn outcompetes natural regeneration, displaces native plant species, can alter ecosystems for both flora and fauna and can significantly affect soil.

"LALCIDE CHONDRO trials have been conducted on both girdling and cut stump operations. Efficacy is determined by stump mortality, and our trial results range from 81 to 100 percent effectiveness, 24 month post application," says Elsa Cousineau, Technical Specialist, ISA® Certified Arborist at BioForest.

LALCIDE CHONDRO should be applied in late spring to early summer when buckthorn is fully leafed out. A thin layer of product is applied to a freshly cut stump or girdle wound within 30 minutes of cutting; one application is required per stem.

LALCIDE CHONDRO is a commercially registered pesticide which can only be applied by licensed pesticide applicators. It will be available for pre-order in Canada in early 2021.

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