Embracing the Disruptive Forces Changing the Crop Protection Industry

The tools of crop protection continue to evolve. Researchers build on the discoveries of the past developing new formulations and discovering new active ingredients to deliver safer, more effective solutions.

The business has changed in other ways, as well. We’ve seen the onset of seed traits, biological controls, Integrated Pest Management, genetically modified crops, among others. Those who fail to adopt the changes are often left behind with fewer options to sell their products.

Change is often incremental and slowly adopted, which makes changes easier to absorb. Rarely do wholesale game changers come along.

It seems just such a time has come along.

A new crop of upstarts has evolved to take on the status quo. These “disruptors” as we’re calling them have developed new approaches that challenge the standard models.

Our cover story highlights four companies challenging the traditional business models.

First is AgroStar, the Indian company that brings technology directly to farmers who use their smartphones to order products. Don’t think this is some passing fad. The company has raised $10 million in a second round of financing earlier this year.

In the U.S. many are familiar with FBN (Farmers Business Network), which launched in 2014. The so-called “Amazon of Agriculture” has been successfully marketing itself to growers, much to the dismay of many in the industry.

Not all the innovation comes in the form of supply chain disruption.

CropCoat offers a unique approach to crop protection, a product that when it’s sprayed on plants’ leaves, stems, fruit, and seeds, forms a film that acts as a shield to help the plant resist pests and disease.

In additon to AgroStar, India has a second disruptor, Gold Farm, which has been nicknamed “Uber for farm equipment.” The model allows small landholders to share expensive equipment they could not otherwise afford.

Being innovative doesn’t guarantee success. Inertia is a powerful force that limits how widely, or even if, a solution is adopted. Just because your product creates value, does not mean you can capture market share. The road to success is paved with brilliant ideas that failed for any number of reasons. But the early returns on these disruptors are pretty positive.

Keeping up with the latest innovations isn’t easy. It’s often hard to know if a new product or service will sail and which ones will sink. And even when a successful product comes along, it’s sure to be replaced by something slicker. Those of us of a certain age remember when Sony’s music player, the Walkman, was all the rage. Then came Apple’s iPod, a portable stereo in everyone’s pockets. The smartphone has since replaced that. What’s next? Whether it’s electronics or crop protection, it’s hard to know what the next disruptor is going to be.

That’s one reason to join us at the events we host around the world. There you can meet with the innovators themselves and ask them questions directly. It’s also a place to meet the buyers and sellers with whom you do business.

Learn about our most recent event, Trade Summit Southeast Asia, which took place 5-6 December in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Meet the companies and service providers working to innovate the industry, get an update on M&A activity, and learn how changes to environmental regulations and harmonization could affect supply and demand around the world.


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