Juliana de Lavor Lopes is Sustainability Director at AMAGGI – the largest private producer of soybeans in the world. Ahead of her speaking role at the summit we spoke to Juliana to find out more about AMAGGI’s successes, its priority areas for innovation and how it is using technology to adopt sustainable strategies.

Juliana de Lavor Lopes headshotYou’re speaking on the panel discussion “Growth Opportunities for Transparency and Supply Chain Optimization” at the World Agri-Tech South America Summit. Can you share some insight into your role as Sustainability Director at AMAGGI?

As AMAGGI’s Sustainability Director, I understand that it is my duty to make sure this company efficiently meets the consumers’ expectations, even though in an indirect way, as we operate as a B2B company. To do so, today we rely on traceability, for it shows where we operate, who we buy grains from, who those suppliers are and how they produce the commodities we eventually export to the world. Thus, traceability is important not only for us as a tool to evaluate our suppliers in social and environmental aspects, but to all our stakeholders in general, as it is linked to the level of transparency consumers have increasingly demanded from companies in general.

What key areas of innovation is AMAGGI most focused on? Why are these areas particularly important to your innovation/sustainability strategy?

Innovation is present in two work fronts that we have developed at AMAGGI.

The first work front consists of trying to add innovation to the products and services offered, both for the benefit of customers and our suppliers, which we are able to apply based on the know-how acquired from our agricultural production and trading areas.

The second work front seeks innovations capable of improving processes, productivity and socio-environmental management based on the growing understanding that we are having of the market and customer’s demands through international forums. In this sense, we have used, for example, Big Data to optimize the production management in farms and the provision of our services. A concrete example of this is Carguero, an app dedicated to the transportation of grains in Brazil, a project that came about through an internal discussion of innovation in the company.

How is AMAGGI using technology to implement that strategy?  What is the role of satellite imagery and data in driving forward your business?

We have been using satellite imagery and data for several purposes, but the major ones are the production management and traceability in our farms and our inhouse designed platform ORIGINAR, which evaluates our suppliers’ areas. With ORIGINAR, we are able to analyse details of the farms where the grains we buy are produced, detecting any issue concerning social and environmental aspects.

Where have you seen the greatest success in your work so far? Are there any case study examples you can share?

I think the success we achieved is precisely our ability to identify gaps in a way that many other companies cannot, because we have the peculiarity of being present in the production chain from beginning to end, acting not only as producers, but also as traders, as logistics operators and as exporters. Therefore, we can quickly identify gaps in the businesses and processes involved, identify steps that need to be improved in logistics, we can see the scenario of agricultural production by understanding the behaviour of rural producers (what they experience, when they can and when they cannot make investments, for example). Our experience with the main international certifications also provides us with a management more in tune with the requirements of excellence of the market, at the same time that we already know the challenges involved in the process of reaching these certifications.

As we see the effects of COVID-19 ripple through food systems, how can technology support a more resilient supply chain? What advancements could we hope to emerge from the pandemic?

The supply chain has the challenge of adapting to a scenario with new requirements, but we can say that we have already seen, to some extent, the result of the investment that was previously made in technology, mainly for meeting sustainability and sanity criteria, as well as volumes. Working on face the challenge to provide quality agricultural commodities, and within the future standards of sanity that the pandemic scenario must certainly impose, Brazil will have all the conditions to enter new markets.

Join Juliana and the South America agtech ecosystem at the upcoming virtual World Agri-Tech South America Summit this July 29-30.

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