Five experts share their take on how we can foster strategic partnerships that break down competitive barriers, promote mutual growth, and incentivize sustainable practices.

Tomás Peña

“We believe that the best way to connect silos is through an ecosystem approach on a local level. To have ecosystem champions that specialize in bringing diverse opinions together to a mutual goal of getting high quality sustainable products to the market. For that you need to learn a new language of collaboration, innovating on a granular scale with a systemic vision. The opportunity requires speed and precision in the go to market and being able to integrate your solution to other offerings. It’s key that all the players learn this new language of distributed innovation.

Trust is a key factor, but I think what is most important is rules of engagements and sense of opportunity. The VC world has developed a very clear protocol to finance this innovation and we need to spend our time and effort in learning how it has already been done. You will always have competition, what’s important is to do a very honest assessment to know that you have the resources available to compete broadly or select one or two specifics low hanging fruits that can differentiate you in a sustainable way.” Tomás PeñaManaging Director, THE YIELD LAB LATAM, Argentina

Laís Braido

“The key point for industry collaboration is having a clear understanding of the changes that are necessary in 21st century agriculture. So far, most people have focused on improving their specific role in the supply chain, whereas the challenge requires facing structural bottlenecks across the supply chain with the ability to solve them while sharing value with growers. Once this vision becomes more commonplace, most will be willing to join forces to develop solutions to drive disruption for agriculture. As a result, companies will understand how APIs are not enough, but combining solutions will help create a new ecosystem.” Laís BraidoCFO, SOLINFTEC, Brazil

José Massad

“The sum of innovation and technology transforms business strategies. In Brazilian agribusiness, an environment already susceptible to external variations (climate, price volatility and market), it is necessary that all agents of the production chain are connected so that the sector remains relevant and competitive in the face of a constantly updated scenario. In large companies and corporations where the breakdowns in activities, departments and areas tend to be greater, it is essential that there is an organizational culture that values co-creation, collaboration and allows people to experiment and seek alternatives to improve existing processes every day. It is also important to identify opportunities for new businesses, test solutions and seek to improve and customize them according to each operational reality, something that open innovation has already proven to be quite effective by enabling greater collaboration and developing targeted projects.

The last few years have been decisive in consolidating the ecosystem as we know it today and the trend is for the adoption of innovation to grow more and more. It is noticeable that there is fertile ground for experimentation: growth of corporate interest in working with new businesses and solutions; academia taking on research projects; companies enabling fields of evidence; and start-ups offering alternatives that are increasingly integrated and aligned with the demands of producers, companies and partners. The ecosystem has been consolidating and assuming an ally role in the development of strategic projects that meet the demands of today and that will ensure the capillarity of the most diverse segments. This also includes the role of innovation hubs, which enable greater connection between entrepreneurs and the sector.

An organization that recognizes innovation as a vector of economic, social and environmental development, expands its prospects to increase its own productivity and that of its partners, as it enhances the best in business. All this makes clear the importance of collaboration combined with trust, always aiming at the sustainability of the business and, consequently, of the sector. Understanding that large companies are a growth channel of extreme relevance for start-ups in terms of support, investment and scalability, Raízen, as a partner in this process, continuously stimulates pilots and actions that will ensure more innovation and the increase of new technologies inside and outside the field, in its own areas or that of suppliers and partners. It is essential to create a link between the agents of the chain so that everyone can trace their projects and feel they belong to a culture that encourages this.” José Massad, Director of IT & Digital, RAÍZEN, Brazil

Nicolás Casasfranco Jiménez

“We believe that there are three key steps:

  1. Promote territorial systems of innovation (STI). Private actors (small farmers, associations, entrepreneurs) and public actors (policy makers, universities) exchange experiences and knowledge in a local background to promote open innovation aiming to improve profits, increase yields and be environmentally sustainable.
  2. Integrate these territorial systems of innovation into the different national nets of knowledge (net aggregating different research groups). Despite different local conditions due to biodiversity, they share many issues such as: nutrition, genetics, phytosanitary, among others, that are crucial along the entire agrarian chain. The national net of knowledge aims to avoid duplication in research by tailoring the needs.
  3. Foster demand of specific of good & services need it to implement innovation. The national net of knowledge requires from academia, policymakers, private sector and start-ups a different set of needs to promote innovations in: i) Knowledge transfer; ii) Specific R&D requested by STI; iii) Specific education formation demanded by STI.

Technology is a key element in this process, by i) Facilitating and reducing cost of interactions among the actors; ii) Linking the different actors locally, nationally and regionally; iii) Tracking the decision and implementation; iv) Providing low-cost services of knowledge transfer; v) Providing low-cost education services; vi) Creating synergies among different regional research groups.” Nicolás Casasfranco Jiménez, Head of Brazil, PROCOLOMBIA, Brazil

Manuel Otero

“AgTech companies are revolutionizing agriculture and play a leading role in the digital transformation of agri-food systems. Within this context, it is important for stakeholders to engage in collaborative, coordinated work to ensure that this transformation is dynamic and inclusive. This involves disseminating solutions and experiences, adapting solutions to the realities and needs of farmers, building capacities, developing infrastructure, and implementing policies to foster the development and use of agtech. The transformation of agri-food systems through innovation is a key issue on IICA’s agenda. The Institute is committed to building bridges between the various stakeholders and regions to continue driving the development and collaboration required to achieve that transformation.” Manuel Otero, Director General, INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR COOPERATION ON AGRICULTURE (IICA), Argentina

Manuel, Tomás, Jose, Nicolas and Laís will share more insights on the main stage at the summit this June. Connect with the teams and discover latest projects via the exhibition and networking breaks. See the full program at, and register now to secure your access.