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Agricultural Innovators from Across the Globe

About This Project

by Avram Slovic – PhD Head of Agriculture, Invaio Latin America

The Latin American Grower Innovates to Global Relevance

While most of us do not think twice about where the food on our plate comes from, today’s food supply chains are more globalized than ever, with many ingredients being produced in one country and being mixed into their final form at some distant location.  No region figures more prominently as a global source of food than Latin America, the conglomerate of the 34 countries that span Central and South America. 

It is no surprise that the region’s success as an agriculture powerhouse builds off a rich and ancient tradition, starting with cultures that sustained sophisticated civilizations such as the Maya, Aztec, and Inca.  One could venture to say that these cultures, along with their North American counterparts, were the first “agricultural innovators” in the New Continent.  These farmers domesticated wild plants for facile cultivation, developed systems of irrigation and crop terracing, dominated the sun cycles, created effective crop rotation practices, and even developed effective fertilizers.

Since the outset of the Green Revolution, in the 1960’s, Latin America has become a world leader in the production and export of key food products such as soybean, pork, maize, poultry, sugar, coffee, orange juice, fruits and vegetables having reached exceptional productivities in the region’s agriculturally conducive sub-tropical climates.

 

Government-sponsored Agricultural Institutes such as Brazil’s EMPRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Chile’s INIA (National Agricultural Research Institute) and Costa Rica’s CORBANA (National Banana Corporation) have helped catalyze the productivity of the region’s farms to become some of the highest yielding on the globe.  In an era of shifting climate and consumer trends, the Latin American grower will be tasked to call upon their collective and regional know-how to increasingly supply the world with healthy and sustainably produced food.

 

 

Today, Latin American growers are focused on the similar agronomic concerns as their ancient relatives albeit at different scales. Plant genetics, precision irrigation, nutrition and crop protection, and developing sustainable practices that optimize water and sunlight are all given consideration as growers choose how to best position their production in a complex global market.  The fundamental task of maximizing the yield and quality of a crop given regional climatic and geographical restrictions remains unchanged.  While the profile of the region’s growers varies greatly, from small farmers that sustain 600 million citizens with fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins to large growers that access international food processers and supermarkets, certifiers such as Global Gap and Rainforest Alliance ensure that the food which reaches us is safely produced and meets the highest international standards.

Throughout my 13 years working around agriculture in the Latin American region, I have remained constantly impressed with the degree of ‘technification’ and systemic thinking that growers have applied to the business of producing quality crops.  From massive plantations of soy and corn in Brazil’s central west states optimizing yield per hectare almost to the penny, to high-margin production of fresh fruit and nuts for export in Chile’s Central Valley, Latin American growers have learned how stack the perfect mix of genetics, irrigation, nutrition and crop protection to produce superior export-quality products in abundant scale.  These examples, and others to come, will be featured in future posts as we work together with the region’s agricultural leaders to drive innovation and sustainability across the major value chains.

"In this era of COVID-19 uncertainty, I can’t imagine anything more important than having fresh and healthy food on our family’s table, and never before has the work of the farmer felt so strategic, as concerns about food shortages loom, and job security weighs on global society." - Avram Slovic

 

Avram Slovic, PhD Head of Agriculture, Invaio Latin America

At Invaio Sciences, we are committed to developing sustainable and precision approaches that will aid growers around the world in their work to create healthy and safe produce, a task that has never seemed as important as the current moment.

As 2020 is turning out to be a challenging 1st semester for us all, I am continually reminded of the importance of a stable food supply and the health of the millions of farm workers who work every day to keep us fed.  Look for future stories on Latin America’s agricultural successes as Invaio evolves its role in the region, and make sure to thank your local growers for their dedication and sacrifice.

 

Avram Slovic has worked for 13 years in agribusiness and industrial biotechnology across Brazil, Europe, and the United States.  With a background in Biophysics and Synthetic Biology, he led R&D and Commercial teams in global companies including Amyris, Braskem and Indigo Agriculture.  An entrepreneur, Avram co-founded InstaAgro.com in 2015, leader in online sales of Agricultural inputs in Brazil, and Harvest Consulting, helping companies enter the Brazilian agriculture market.  He is the author of 5 articles and 11 patents.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, hiking, biking, and cooking.

Category

Environment, Insects