2012 World of Respect
DuPont Crop Protection, Farm Chemicals International and sister publication CropLife have once again collaborated to honor the industry’s best environmental stewards for the 2012 Environmental Respect Awards. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 65 entries from more than 20 countries.
In order to compete, retailers and distributors complete an extensive self-evaulation, detailing their emergency procedures, stewardship efforts and local educational endeavors.
“My philosophy is that when we begin to value our own surrounding, we won’t be able to allow ourselves to destroy the environment,” says Fong Gui Jhong, general manager of Ciao Li Agrochemical retail store, a 2012 winner from China.
Environmental stewardship efforts are practiced around the globe.
“Agriculture is business and should generate wealth,” says Baiju Kantaria, director, Elgon Kenya Ltd. “Supporting agriculture is supporting a healthy nation.”
The stories on the following pages detail the 2012 Ambassadors of Respect and their efforts to make the world a better place.
An Argentinean enterprise dedicated to the buying and selling of building materials and agricultural consumables such as seeds and fertilizer, Riboldi S.A. is being honored as an Environmental Respect Awards country ambassador for 2012. The company serves the wholesale market within a 185-mile radius of its expansive home base in the province of Santa Fe. Founded 35 years ago, Riboldi is known for its honesty and efficiency in the marketplace.
Utilizing its logistics and know-how in the region, Riboldi has set its sights on broadening its selling area and offerings, with products ranging from agrochemicals and fertilizers to construction products including steel wire, flat bar, angle bar and ceramic tiles. It also offers services such as soil sampling to help customers determine nutrient and crop protection needs, and it is able to guide customers’ pest management decisions with pest-scouting services. Riboldi provides collection and disposal services for containers and leftover pesticides, and promotes the principles of IPM.
Riboldi is being recognized for its great commitment to the environment and to customer involvement – not an easy accomplishment considering its size and volume (and variety) of products. This is management at its best.
Synagro Comercial Agricola, Ltda.
The landscape and crops grown resemble that of the US Corn Belt, but this 2012 World of Respect Ambassador is on the other side of the equator.
Synagro Comercial Agricola, Ltda., serves farmers in Bahia, Brazil with crop protection products, seed, fertilizer and consulting services. While the dominant crops in this area are soybeans, cotton and corn, Synagro’s customers also include growers of coffee, bananas, citrus and papaya.
The company’s goal of using products that are environmentally friendly, safe and healthy and its commitment to being an example for other agricultural businesses are just two of the reasons they were awarded this honor.
For Synagro, promoting stewardship means focused attention on the physical plant structure, as well as outreach to farmer customers.
The warehouse building is used exclusively to hold pesticides and is outfitted with mechanic ventilation for better control of air quality and temperature. A contention dike protects the surrounding area from accidental spills, and a rain drainage system prevents rain water from getting into the warehouse.
In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, training customers on the responsible use of crop protection products is an important goal for Synagro. Working face-to-face with growers, Synagro follows the products sold down to the end user, ensuring safety and spreading its message about the importance of environmental stewardship.
“We cannot put the interests of business before the environment, because if we keep this attitude, we simply will not have future business,” says Guillermo Rocha, the company’s Northern Area Manager. It is this approach that exemplifies environmental respect at AgriCenter, winner of this year’s country champion award for Mexico.
Located in Torreón in the country’s northeastern Coahuila province, AgriCenter is devoted not only to its loyal customers but its surroundings. “We try to preserve a relationship of respect for the environment,” says Rocha. “We live in the desert, so we have promoted a culture of water stewardship because not only is it a very scarce resource, but also because we care what we sell to our customers – that we do not contaminate the ground or negatively impact the environment.”
The distribution company is also committed to the fight against illegal pesticides: In 2011, it joined DuPont’s campaign to stop the trade of contraband and counterfeit products.
AgriCenter provides a wide range of consulting services including analysis of soil, water, plants and machinery and equipment, as well as collection and disposal services to customers for containers and pesticide residue. Staff members are trained in applications using methods that minimize exposure to pesticides, and the company has met with local emergency response agencies to review its facility layout, product inventory and emergency response plan. Furthermore, always a priority is promoting the principles of IPM to clients. All of these key services support its robust product offering of high-quality fertilizers, agrochemicals and seeds.
“We try to teach by example, not always easy, but it is one of the commitments that we made as a company,” Rocha adds.
Agro Consulting International
Agro Consulting International was founded in December 1994 in Algiers, Algeria by Mr. Rabah Allam, a 30-year agriculture industry veteran. His experience helped the company earn the confidence of multinationals like DuPont, Vilmorin and Asgrow, enabling it to offer a diverse lineup of products and solutions for the region’s farmers.
“The safety of people and the environment are the main investments for a sustainable future,” Allam says.
Agro Consulting International, the 2012 country champion for Algeria, today sees nearly $20 million in annual revenue and employs 120 people, with 10 regional offices and 13 distributors bolstering its presence nationwide. The company has adopted a strategy of training college recruits to strengthen its force of industry veterans – an approach it says has contributed to its success as a supplier of crop inputs to the region. Its efforts to transfer know-how and technology, as well as aid Algeria’s agricultural development.
With its unwavering commitment to environment excellence, it is no surprise that Agro Consulting International is dedicated to delivering top product quality. In an effort to end the blight of counterfeit pesticides, the company is engaged in ongoing dialogue with Algeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment to stop the importation of illegal or counterfeit products. All employees are trained in procedures to distinguish low-quality or illegal products, and the business pays meticulous attention to product formulations, packaging and labeling to help reduce risks to users and minimize the impact on the environment. It also regularly promotes the principles of IPM, and recommends and applies crop protection products in step.
Elgon Kenya Ltd.
Elgon Kenya, a supplier to Kenya’s floriculture and specialty crop industries, takes emergency preparedness to a new level.
With its main product line comprising greenhouse and field grade fertilizers, seeds and irrigation components, the company has made sure to instill measures that ensure security of company employees.
Elgon Kenya has only one access door to be used during normal working hours which is manned by security personnel at all times, according to the company. Other security measures include a perimeter that is well-fenced and an advanced alarm system.
Employees of Elgon Kenya also receive training on emergency procedures, which are posted throughout the facility. A board listing emergency contacts such as the nearest police station, fire and ambulance services is posted in case an incident occurs. In addition, emergency response drills and meetings with local law enforcement are conducted on a regular basis.
Elgon Kenya’s slogan is “Produce food at low cost with less damage to environment.” Their main focus is to assist farmers with obtaining products from reliable sources and in turn save them from livelihood losses resulting from counterfeit products.
Ciao Li Agrochemical
Ciao Li Agrochemical retail store has a rich history of community involvement, which involves a tradition of teaching responsible use, IPM and community education. The business offers consulting services for its array of products, which include pesticides crucial to crop productivity in Li Kang township in Taiwan’s Pingtung province.
Its store has anti-counterfeiting and responsible use initiatives that are critical to transferring the appropriate agronomic and operational knowledge to farmers. As a retailer that prides itself on its relationship with local farmers, it has taken an active role in consultation, recordkeeping and execution of the most effective cropping strategies for the economic and operational sustainability of farming businesses, which have become the basis for stable communities in many towns.
Part of its service portfolio includes 1) consulting services on vegetation management and appropriate crop protection strategies, 2) fertility management, 3) maintaining application records for centralized reference, 4) responsible and proper use consulting, 5) soil sampling and 6) container recycling for proper disposal of potentially hazardous remnants from the responsible use of leading active substances. All of these initiatives are reinforced with regular employee training to ensure the transfer of proper use and good agricultural practices have a lasting impact on the farm community.
But it doesn’t stop at setting an example with its customers. Its neighbors realize its dedication to stewardship each and every day.
“When our store does our daily cleaning in the morning, I do not limit the area to just include the store grounds; instead we clean the entire street from beginning to end,” says store General Manager Fong Gui Jhong. “I hope that action can help to influence the neighborhood to see agriculture businesses in a more positive way.”
P.T. Andall Hasa Prima
Indonesia has one of the most sophisticated distribution networks in Southeast Asia. Its producers, distributors and retailers have integrated communications with their end users through production consulting, scouting and spray recommendations that earned it recognition in the Environmental Respect Awards in 2009.
Part of what put this entry at the top of the list this year is its commitment to thwarting illegal pesticides via consultation services and education programs with farmers. If the company discovers a distributor that sells illicit products, it ceases to do business with them.
“We report cases of illegal product-to-producer companies and in-country officers,” Director Achmad Lutel says. “We also train the customers about product stewardship and how to use pesticides safely in collaboration with company label recommendations. We always promote to retailers and plantations to buy from approved dealers.”
Its facilities operate efficiently largely because it holds its staff accountable for emergency procedures, and it regularly practices contingencies for spills and leaks.
“We appointed a warehouse manager to be responsible for handling emergency procedures,” Lutel says. “The warehouse manager is responsible for training workers on how to execute emergency procedures, including poisoning, fire emergencies, and evacuation. The warehouse manager then creates monthly reports on incidents and preparedness.”
One of the foremost services a retailer can provide for its farmer community is ongoing education. This helps transfer knowledge of general agronomic practices, IPM, biological integration and best practices that encourage the sustainable use of emerging technologies. Increasingly, it requires consultation on mixing products and recommending appropriate combination products that can help save labor and bolster yields. These emerging practices can then be logged, tracked and either replicated or amended depending on efficacy.
“We also teach our customers about safety, health and the environment when it comes to product handling. Environmental concerns will continue to be more important to communities, and influences how our customers buy and use pesticides.”
Safety is first at Horticentre Limited. The Auckland Vegetable Growers Society founded Horticentre Pukekohe Limited, formerly Veg-Gro Supplies Limited, in 1981 to assist growers with maintaining their profitability and ensure they obtain a fair deal when purchasing their horticultural supplies.
Originally, they began bulk ordering chloropicrin. Since then, their business has expanded to include a myriad of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, seeds biotechnology products and fertilizers.
Horticentre’s staff takes care of its growers by frequently checking to make sure their concerns are addressed after product application. In addition, the company discourages the trade of illegal products by purchasing guaranteed products and ensuring new products have prior approval from the Ag-Chemical or Nutrition Manager before being entered into its sales system.
Horticentre Limited ensures that products are approved by the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. The company’s stewardship policy states it will not sell illegal products, and relevant authorities have been informed in the past when a competitor was involved in illegal activities.
Despite not participating in chemical applications, all vehicles that deliver products carry nitrile gloves in case employees come into contact with chemicals. In addition, Horticentre’s agronomists have PVC leggings and coats in their vehicles.
Overall, all team members of Horticentre Pukekohe advocate stewardship through their support of employee training courses, soil sampling services and their operation of ag recovery sites for the disposal of empty containers.
The AGROTEK Group of companies has operated in the Russia crop protection and seeds markets since 1994, achieving a key goal to provide agricultural producers with highly effective agrochemicals and seeds.
AGROTEK utilizes the best possible resources for maintaining high storage, material handling and transport standards.
Their facilities comply with all formal requirements for emergency preparedness and responsiveness.
For example, facility maps with emergency response procedures are available. In addition, AGROTEK also regularly conducts training for emergencies. The company is cognizant of their partners’ emergency and safety procedures and ensures all precautions are made within clients’ guidelines as well.
Selling high-quality products is of importance to AGROTEK as well. The company hosts seminars and field days for the agricultural producers and farmers along with representatives of world-leading agrochemicals and seeds producers, to promote original products and seeds.
“The seminars and field days assist employees with differentiating an original product from a low-quality one,” says Genady Grushko, director general.
They also encourage customers to use safe agriculture practices such as asking about advice from law enforcement if a situation arises.