Agribusiness sustainability, in terms of environmental, social and economic aspects, will become even more essential in the near future, and the companies that are able to provide differentiated and personalised services to their respective clients will conquer solid positions in a market that is increasingly demanding more quality every day.

These are the essential conclusions that emerged from an international seminar held by Agrenco Group, the Franco-Brazilian agribusiness group represented in Malta by Finacom Investment House of G ‘Mangia, in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Around 250 entrepreneurs, bankers, senior company and cooperatives executives, as well as buyers from South America, Europe and Asia, attended this seminar to discuss the latest global agribusiness trends.

The issue of traceability and sustainability programs for agricultural products imported into the European market was also discussed. As from January 2006 the EU will no longer tolerate imported agricultural products that do not strictly adhere with the EU’s safety and quality regulations that are already applied to European food products.

In this regard, Agrenco announced a partnership with German company TÜV, to trace grains and meals from the origin to the final destination, in Europe.
Agrenco’s president, Antonio Iafelice, states: “Concern about the food question was almost non-existent up to the mid 1970s but today the rules about food safety and sustainability are used in all international deals and commercial contracts. It is clear that the agribusiness sector’s sustainability is only possible if there are investments in the infrastructure (especially in logistics), financial support backed with a proper risk management and the right technology that can overcome non-tariff barriers, preserves the environment, takes part in the social development and guarantees quality certification of both processes and products.”

High calibre speakers at the event included Peter Goldsmith, from the agricultural and consumer economics department at University of Illinois; the chief analyst of Kottke & Associates, the consultant Ronald Anderson; and Filippo Galli, president of the Italian Grain Trading Association. The sessions were chaired by James Wright, coordinator of the Program for Future Studies at the University of Säo Paulo, Brazil.

Attendees included Société Générale, Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, WestLB, HVB, Banco Santander, KBC Bank, Natexis Banques Populaires, UFJ Bank, Fimat, SMBC, and Deutsche Bank.

Asked about the feedback received by Agrenco from participants after the event, Iafelice says that it was extremely positive. “In general terms, the event has been a success for both Finacom and the group on various fronts. The seminar offered Agrenco the opportunity to meet some of our clients and many potential ones from several countries. It has given Agrenco the opportunity to show the market the strengths of our group as a whole and the good name Finacom has established for itself.

Many of the bankers told us that they are ready to discuss opportunities we shall present to them. And, last but not least, it has shown that Agrenco is respected and admired for our service and professionalism.”

Based in Brazil but with offices in Singapore, France, UK, Italy, Norway and Malta, Agrenco Group operates in the formulation and performance of personalised and integrated solutions for the whole cycle of production and destination of grain and oil seeds. Operations cover all stages of agribusiness: origination, financing for producers and buyers through international and Brazilian banking institutions, storage, logistics, freight, port operations, distribution and traceability, and evaluation of product and process quality, from the farmland to final destination.

Finacom is Agrenco’s financing and bank relations subsidiary which deals with major international banking institutions. The Malta-based company specialises in structured operations and financial services, with competitive solutions for commodities in particular agricultural production and commerce.

Apart from Finacom, Agrenco’s subsidiaries include Agrenco Brazil (purchase and sale of agricultural commodities), Inlogs (origination/logistics) Agrenco Shipping and Chartering (freight), IQS (quality control), Fertlogs (fertilisers), Agrenco Technology, Agrenco Singapore, Agrenco Italia, Agrenco UK and Agrenco France. Agrenco has 10 offices in Europe and Brazil and a portfolio of 300 active European clients with another 30 clients in Asia.