Monthly Archives: January 2012

The seven challenges of agribusiness – the journey of the next 10 years

By Jose Luiz Tejon Megido

With much more sensors being invented and used in the world, we began to listen, measure and know things which we ignored. More traceability, more sensory analysis, there will go in agribusiness with one of the challenges from the 7, of significant importance and predominance: THE AVATAR’s KINGDOM. A generation of customers and consumers become more sensitive and sensitized by the information for the sustainability on all levels. The Coca Cola Company has examined the lots of orange juice, that takes to process your refrigerants, and residues of Carbendazin are detected, for example. This defensive is used to control black spot in orange. The orange becomes not esthetic, but the healthful aspect goes to count. And if there is anything that Coca Cola, and all processors and retail networks of the world, do not want is to have trouble with complaints and health risks of their customers. Therefore, the discussion is established, the technicians will discuss, if 30 parts per billion in orange, is harmful or not, and why that Japan accept 3,000, and Europe 200 parts per billion, and what to do with The United States that rule is zero or 10, which is practically zero? An increased challenge is exactly that of the sensors and the expansion of sensibility and very low thresholds to the question of human and the planet health.

The second challenge is about the agricultural lands. The world must double food supplies and renewable energy. FAO’s data show that 70% of this increase will come from the technology, 10% of the intensity of agricultural cycles in the same area and the remaining 20%, Yeah these – from new agricultural areas. It means, the land became too worth gold. The expansion of new frontiers has been limited and the relation of ownership of agricultural lands has different story, one of the most valuated active in the world over the last 5 years. Brazil is beside the Sudan in Africa, are the two biggest reserves on the planet, in this regard.

The third challenge is the population: people. The population grows in proportion to of 4 new births per second. We will be 9 billion, we already are 7 billion. And this new habitant is fully connected and interconnected. The Internet expands the situational ethics of the past, and in addition to cellular phones connection, computers, televisions, it is coming now the new Internet of things. It mean, in the shower, microwave, on the stove, on the car, etc. The fourth challenge is not only food production, which should double, but their quality. The raw materials produced from the field begin to be more import perceived in the analysis of the marks of processors and distributors of food, fiber, energy, protein and other derivatives of agribusiness. Food and energy, their production, distribution and perception of the interconnected markets become a new challenge for the management of the entire value chain, from the first, passing through the inside and by post farms gate.

The fifth challenge, the innovation, the adoption and the management of technology and its life cycle. The problem is not count with an advanced technology, is that we need to have over than one. This diversity technology advances will require of the farms, industry, chemistry, mechanics, genetics, and processors a level of “on-line” dialog. The academic area, school and public research cannot resist to the absence of speed as well as agribusiness governance will be more based on the sectorial advice. In the technology, the stock of local germoplasms will be a factor of risk management and the environmental security, political and national interest.

The 6th challenge is the question: Who will be the farmer in 2022? In the next 10 years, who will be, as will be, how many will exist? Which segments, the clusters? Which the human competences of this new situation of producers for the next 10 years?  The present became the result of the future. What we have now, which signals that we captured in this moment that show the journey and the window for tomorrow. Anticipating the movements is a key challenge for all the agents involved in agribusiness, and that will be fundamental to the construction of “brands” that resist the time. Product is what we do in the industry or on the field; brand is that we built in the mind passionate human. And if the producer is the universe to be reviewed, including the unpredictability of the world cyclical, where a European crisis, for example, we begin to see an contrary exodus: urban abandon the cities and start new businesses in the field; the old “farms” are now seen as sources of quality of life and also, entrepreneurship; If all that is a set of questions that most intrigue the current executives of agribusiness managers, here comes the 7th challenge: Marketing. The good old marketing: agribusiness without marketing is just agriculture, no deal, which means to place the human mind of all the stakeholders at the center of the table of business decisions and of the agribusiness. How much we know of this army of new customers arising from the base of the pyramid planetary? Of these current 7 billion, almost half are new entrants. If the pasta, for example, has capillarity and penetration in a 100% of Brazil’s households, and we are the 3rd largest world market on the masses, is now, with the ascension of C class, almost 100 millions of consumers greedy for the consumerist wishes that began to have the penetration of new stuffed pasta. The “spaghetti” to the cannelloni is the journey that is already in fast penetration. And, as in meat, milk, vegetables and fruits, fiber, sugar, cocoa, rice … or rubber trees.

Land, people, food and energy, the Kingdom of Avatar, technology, the producer of the future, and the marketing. The synthesis of the 7 challenges of the agribusiness. How will be 2022? 10 years ahead of our time?

The dialogue with society is a factor “sine qua non” the part of all agents involved on agribusiness, and build company with a new pedagogical intelligence becomes vital. In the old education we were first driven to think, and then do and if get one day in the life: feeling. The playful expression, modern, begins with the art of to do, in doing feel, feeling we think. This prudence is sacred for not fall in large errors of the decisions of leaders well-intentioned, but who fall in the sin of distractions.

The speed changed, is nearly instantaneous, and all of these seven macro challenges of the agribusiness must be packaged for the high speed of a new hybrid: do, feel and think.

Jose Luiz Tejon Megiddo – Vice President of Communications CCAS – Scientific Council for Sustainable Agriculture / Commentator of Network Estadão and  ESPN

Source:  Alfapress

Click here to read the Portuguese original version of this article published at Avicultura Industrial, January 17th, 2012

Translated by  Gilberto Silber Schmidt

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FAPESP: An institution dedicated to the Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil

Labex Korea – By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is one of the most important and conceptualized institution of research promotion funds for the Scientific and Technological development in Brazil. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, responsible for the technological advancement that emanates from the Sao Paulo State and reaches across the country. The FAPESP magazine was launched in 1999, with the basic objective to disseminating and valorizes the results of scientific Brazilian production. To recognize the FAPESP’s contribution for the Brazilian Scientific advance, the Labex Korea selected a list of special publishes (2011) about agriculture, renewable energy, science policy, etc.  See below a short description for each report as well as the links to access the complete article.

January 2011

Group from Unesp in Rio Claro is a reference for foreign biologists
The laboratory headed by zoologist Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad, a professor at the Biosciences Institute of Rio Claro at Paulista State University (Unesp), has become a reference for researchers of several nationalities interested in participating in research studies on Brazilian biodiversity.

Bureaucratic maze
The year 2011 promises a new round in the dispute between scientists and environmentalists caused by the strict legislation regarding biopiracy. These laws were enacted to avoid the riches from Brazil’s biodiversity being diverted.

Molecular markers identify tender meat in Nelore cattle
Soon it should not be necessary to wait for your steak to reach the table to find out whether the meat is tender. Through biotechnology tests of blood, skin and even semen samples, it will become possible to forecast whether a given animal of the Nelore  breed  will or will not produce tender meat, while it is still a calf of only a few months.

April 2011

Effect of cosmic rays may have generated molecules that formed animals and plants
Parts of DNA and other essential molecules in living beings may have formed in space billions of years ago and got a ride to Earth on comets or meteorites.

New ingredient used by industry contains no trans fat
Researchers from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), together with the company Cargill Agrícola, have developed a fat with a low saturated fatty acid content and with no trans fat whatsoever, which is already being used by the food industry as a cookie filler and also in the formulation of various products

Sugarcane juice in biocells – Energy alternative to produce electric power
Sugarcane juice, which people often drink when eating deep-fried pastries at street markets, is a strong candidate to produce electric power in a small plastic box to be used as batteries for mobile devices, MP3 players or even notebooks. The device where sugarcane juices act as a fuel, called a biocell, is one of the latest developments in the field of alternative energy sources

May 2011

The limit of the forest – Group from São Paulo identifies the signs that precede successive extinction in the Atlantic rainforest
The Atlantic rainforest is a forest in pieces. According to recent estimates between 11% and 16% of its original cover remains, most in fragments of fewer than 50 hectares of continuous vegetation, surrounded by plantations, pasture and cities.

Talks in April discussed alternative energy sources and climate change
Pictures of floods, dried out forests and too much heat have become commonplace when one thinks about global climate change. The need for investment in alternative energy sources is also part of this context.

Intelligent Packaging – Color in fungi – Sensitive film warns consumer about food deterioration
The traditional manioc [also known as cassava], a native plant from the southeast of the Amazon Region had been used as food – it was the staple food of Brazil’s indigenous people – long before the arrival of the Portuguese explorers. Cassava now has new and advanced technological functions. Biodegradable plastic films made from the starch of this vegetable can be used to produce active packaging, capable of preventing the growth of fungi, or intelligent packaging, which changes color when the food product begins to spoil.

June 2011

A laboratory at an orange plantation
From the pioneering studies of citrus canker to the genome of citrus variegated chlorosis, FAPESP has invested in the research that has made Brazilian citriculture competitive.
The diseases that affect citriculture in São Paulo state have been the target of successive research projects financed by FAPESP since the creation of the Foundation almost 50 years ago.

An article by Bioen Program researchers forecasts multiplication of sugarcane productivity
A scientific article on the potential of sugarcane for the production of bioenergy, by a group of researchers from the University of São Paulo and from the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) awakened unexpected interest among researchers.

Fruit recreated – New combinations fit for the most refined palate
Would you like a diet pineapple, with 40% fewer calories than a normal pineapple? Or a piece of mango, already peeled and still with the smell of mango, protected by an edible film made from mango pulp? What about an even yellower chip than those made from potatoes, which is made from orange or pawpaw pulp? And to drink: would you prefer a probiotic cashew juice – similar to a probiotic yoghurt, but fruit-based– or a fermented cashew drink, the color of which is reminiscent of white wine, with a taste of cider? Many new Brazilian fruit-based innovations are maturing in the laboratories of Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical [Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – tropical agroindustry] and at the Federal University of Ceará (FUCI) in Fortaleza.

July 2011

When hybrids are fertile – Unlikely cross breeds can create new species of plants and animals
Darwin, in addition to talent, was lucky. Upon arriving in the Galapagos Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, he found a rich variety of turtles and birds living under unique environmental conditions, such as geographic isolation and diet, which must have strongly their.evolutionfluenced over millions of years.

Protecting passion fruit – New early diagnostic kit for bacteria that devastates orchards
An edible fruit used in juices, jams, syrups and cosmetics, passion fruit does it all, even it’s rind is used to make flour. Brazil is its largest producer and consumer of passion fruit in the world, having produced more than 700,000 tons in 2009, but the industry has seen significant losses in orchards due to a disease that is difficult to control and widespread in its occurrence – passion fruit blight damages the plants leaves and renders the fruit unfit for consumption. The bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis is responsible for this disease that attacks passion fruit plants and causes producers to lose 20% to 30% in yield.

August 2011

The wealth of biodiversity in the Brazilian forests is also revealed in substances
When one talks about biodiversity, one of the main areas of the wealth of Brazil that comes to mind is usually plants and animals, in a huge variety of shapes, colors, sizes and types. Hardly anyone remembers the molecules that, with an equally amazing diversity, permeate this entire natural heritage.

Interventions on global climate may already be feasible, but carry huge risks
Two new expressions – climate management and geoengineering – are appearing more often in international debates on science and the politics of climate change. One of the reasons is the failure of attempts to implement effective policies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Planting in rows – This method can help the movement of small mammals
Plants arranged in rows, forming a striped field, are very different from the islands of forest that emerge here and there on the landscape, generally following the hills. It is on such a landscape, in the towns of Guapimirim and Cachoeiras de Macacu in Rio de Janeiro state, that the biologists Prevedello Jaime and Marcus Vinicius Vieira, from the Department of Ecology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), evaluated the movements of small mammals in the midst of manioc plantations.

Alternative vinasse – Production waste from ethanol may be used to produce biodiesel
Joining microalgae and vinasse to produce biodiesel is the challenge of the São Paulo enterprise Algae Biotecnologia. What is new here is the use of vinasse, because making biodiesel from algae has already been achieved by companies in the United States.

Vegetable identification – Beam of light recognizes the chemical composition of species
A new identification method for tropical wood based on the spectroscopy technique, which measures the absorption of light energy by materials, is going to help in the recognition of forest species extracted illegally from the Amazon.

Prepared by: Gilberto Silber Schmidt

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The “6th International Symposium on Seed, Transplant and Stand Establishment of Horticultural Crops: Sowing the Future of Tropical Horticulture – SEST2012”

Labex Korea – By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

It is well known that Brazilian agricultural sciences played a prominent role in turning Brazil into a world leader in tropical agriculture. In the 6th most important economy in the world, horticultural science has surely taken a part in this accomplishment. Still, there are several challenges to be faced – producing enough food that meets quality and safety standards for a growing world population; using finite natural resources more efficiently; coping with acidic soils; adapting horticulture to a changing climate… In other words, the challenge of developing a truly sustainable and productive horticulture that can thrive in a changing world, as the theme of the symposium makes clear.
Brazil, due to its continental size and its ecological and climatic diversity, is a natural laboratory for evaluating the problems and developing the solutions for tropical and subtropical horticulture. For those unfamiliar with the tropics, this will be an excellent opportunity to know the unique problems faced by tropical horticultural sciences and the solutions found to those problems, and also to share their thoughts and findings for the tropics and other regions of the world.
As the event will take place at an intermediary ecosystem, the Brazilian savannah, known locally as “the Cerrado”, which shares some features with other tropical ecosystems such as the African savannah and is also the main agricultural frontier in Brazil, delegates will have a chance to know different systems of seed and transplant production besides stand establishment, for various crops and in distinct situations that are typical of Brazilian horticultural production.
By now, we have the confirmed speakers from Chile, China, Japan, EUA, Spain and The Netherlands talking about seeds, transplants and crop protection horticulture. We are waiting for 200 participants.

Click here for more information about the symposium

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Energy forests on the Scope of Biorefineries

By Mônica Caramez Triches Damaso – Embrapa Agroenergy

The perspective of demand increase for fuel in several countries around the world, the actions are being promoted for the renewable energy has a significant participation in the energy matrixes.
Brazil became a world reference on fuel ethanol production derivate from sugar cane. However, the biomass diversification used to generate several agroenergetic products is essential to expand the offer of energy.
Factors such as our large territorial extension, the rich biodiversity and favorable climates conditions, expands the opportunity the use of the raw material oleaginous, saccharin, starches and lignocelllosic, and they or their residues and derivates can be used to generate energy.
The raw materials of lignocelllosic , represented in this article by the forests, are abundant alternatives, sustainable, and not compete with the food chains and great potential use to produce energetic inputs with added value, both liquids (diesel, gasoline, methanol and ethanol), solids (carbonaceous solid residue, firewood and charcoal) and gaseous (fuel gas, synthetic gas and hydrogen).
Beyond the question of raw material, another point to be discussed is the technical and economic viability of the adoption of sustainable solutions to transform this raw material in energetic products. The world trend indicate that for companies users of biomass become competitive, they need suit to the standard already used in an oil refinery, both in production scale and product diversity.
Thus, the production of biofuel, chemical inputs, materials, food, feed and energy should be made jointly, which becomes possible within the concept of a biorefinery that integrates several conversion routes – biochemical, chemical and thermochemical – in search of the better utilization of biomass and energy it contains.
In the case of forest raw materials, company’s producer of paper and pulp are those that would be more prepared to fit to the precepts of a biorefinery.
In this context, Embrapa Agroenergy, Embrapa Forest and Engineering School of Lorena / USP, in partnership with other Units of Embrapa, the private sector and educational institutions and research are proposing a component of the Energy Forestry Project that has the general objective study, develop and evaluate technological routes for obtaining energy from forest biomass, based on the concept of biorefineries.
That component intends to evaluate biochemical routes, including hydrolysis and fermentation for ethanol production from wood and waste of industry of recycling paper and thermochemical (pyrolysis and gasification), from wood to produce bio-oil, gas of the synthesis and of solid carbonaceous residue, gasification of cellulignin and wood with supercritical water for hydrogen production.
At present, the ethanol production from sugar cane has not been enough to attend even the domestic consumer market, due to the lack of raw material, which became worst with the increase of consumption. The ethanol from forest biomass can supplement the already produced for this market, enabling even the increase in export.
The taking of H2 from biomass consist in a great opportunity for the derivates production of light and clean of oil, as the availability of this gas is a limiting factor for the production of derivates from the oil, difficulting to market expansion of this sector.
The bio-oil is used as biofuel of direct application in boilers and furnaces, or, if refined, could be used as raw material for obtaining energy derivatives and other materials, while the carbonaceous solid residue can be used as soil fertilizer. The synthesis gas is used for obtaining several inputs and chemical products of industrial interest.

The research progress related to the integrated production of biofuel, chemical inputs, feeds, biofertilizers, materials and energy will be strategic to promoting sustainable development in various regions and enlarge security of our country.

Source: Revista Opiniões, December 2011 – February 2012
Click here to read the complete version of this article (Portuguese)
Click here to more information about Embrapa Agroenergy
Translated by: Gilberto Silber Schmidt
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Organic covering protects fruit, vegetables and meat

Source: Revista Fapesp

The great novelty about the new type of packaging is that the consumer does not have to remove it. It can be eaten without causing any harm to health because it is not metabolized by human organism and passes through the gastro-intestinal tract harmlessly. The packaging serves to prolong the shelf-life of fruit, dairy products, meat, fish and other perishable foodstuffs, maintaining their structural integrity and protecting them from the micro-organisms that cause product degradation. This innovation forms part of a study carried out in a partnership between Brazilian and Portuguese researchers for developing edible films and coatings on a micrometric and nanometric scale for use with food.

Source: FAPESP, October 18th, 2011

Click here to read the complete version of this article

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Brazilian Agriculture in Spotlight – Part I

Labex Korea – By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world, with an extensive surface of continuous land, a large supply of fresh water, abundant solar energy, and a rich biodiversity.  The wide range of climatic conditions, from temperate to tropical, together with advanced capacity in technology development, allowed considerable diversification of agricultural systems in the country, which has become one of the world’s largest producers of food, feed, fibers and renewable fuels.

With the purpose to facilitate the readers to know more details about general aspects of the Brazilian Agriculture, Labex Korea selected a list of articles published by leading specialized Magazines, Journal and Sites, related with this theme, so the reader can view and access quickly the information interest.
See below the title of the publication as well as the links of access the original source. Click on the title to access the complete article.

Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Brazil – FAO, February, 5th, 2010.
The Brazilian Agricultural Research for Development  System – Labex Korea,  February 20th, 2010
Brazilian Agribusiness at a Glance – Labex Korea, August 17th, 2010
Brazil’s Agricultural Miracle – How to feed the world – The Economist, August 26th, 2010.
The miracle of the cerrado – The Economist, August 26th, 2010.
Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil – Advances and Future Challenges –  Labex Korea, October, 21st, 2010.
Scientists Help Make Brazil an Agriculture Dynamo – National Public Radio of the US, October 29th, 2010
Turning Science into Agribusiness – Advanced Tropical Agriculture in Brazil – Labex Korea, November 5th, 2010.
Brazilian farmers are unlikely climate heroes – NewScientist, December, 8th, 2010Agriculture in Brazil – Wikipedia, September 18th, 2010.

Agriculture in Brazil – Wikipedia, September 18th, 2010
Agriculture in Brazi:; impacts, costs, and opportunities for a sustainable future – SciVerse, September 29th, 2010
Brazilian Agriculture Can Help Combat Hunger and Inflation – IPS News, March 11st, 2011.
Productive capacity of Brazilian agriculture: a long-term perspective – BIS, UK.

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Scientists explore connections between astronomy and biology

By Fábio de Castro

Agência FAPESP – The more than 160 researchers, instructors and students who participated in the São Paulo Advanced School of Astrobiology – Making Connections (SPASA 2011) event between December 11 and 20, 2011, debated the most recent advances in astrobiology, a new area that explores answers to some of the most complex questions in science today.

Source: FAPESP, January 18th, 2012

Click here to read the complete version(English) of this article

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