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Brazilian Credit Union Helps Select Startups to Support Agricultural Chain ​​During Pandemic

The following post was provided by Sicredi Vale do Piquiri Abcd PR/SP, one of Sicredi's 110 financial cooperatives. Sicredi is World Council's direct member association in Brazil. This post focuses on a program designed to help farmers face the problems that have arisen as a result of COVID-19, help the production and distribution of food, supply the population and strengthen the Brazilian economy.

The "COVID-19 Challenge: digital solutions for agribusiness initiative aims to promote the diffusion and adoption of start-up tools that will be selected for presenting reliable and high-impact solutions that can contribute to producers and the entire production chain in coping with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The challenge was launched on March 31 and aims to provide free startup solutions to rural producers for a period of two months. Startups can sign up for the next two weeks. The project is a partnership of Bayer, Sicredi, Orbia and AgTech Garage.

“The evolution of the new coronavirus in Brazil is also a concern for the agricultural market, since COVID-19 has impacted not only the health area, it has affected several sectors of society. To minimize the effects of the pandemic, restrictive circulation measures were adopted in most states, so that these strategies of social isolation changed our style of living, working, consuming, getting around, in short, everything changed,” explained Dirceu Ferreira Junior, director of the Tropical Agriculture Expertise Center at Bayer Brasil, who is responsible for the initiative.

Amid this scenario, agribusiness continues to play a central role in producing food. Thus, the initiative aims to contribute to the maintenance of production, allowing farmers to continue guaranteeing the supply and access of the population to food.

The idea is that the solutions offered by these innovative companies are made available, through the digital platform Orbia, to rural producers in Brazil, which will contribute to the maintenance of agricultural production during this period of social isolation caused by COVID-19. 

“Orbia specializes in making the connection between farmers and a network of suppliers, in order to facilitate their processes, do business and generate value,” said Orbia CEO Ivan Moreno.

“Open innovation, through startups, is already a reality in Brazilian agribusiness, mainly due to the innovative potential and agility that these nascent technology companies provide to the market. These are essential characteristics for the moment we live in. We are optimistic about this action to massively connect producers with startups and minimize the impacts of coronavirus on agribusiness,” explained José Tomé, CEO of AgTech Garage, one of the main innovation hubs in Brazilian agribusiness.

For Cesar Bochi, Sicredi's director of administration, the initiative is fundamental at a time when Brazilian society, as a whole, needs collaborative actions. 

“Our fixed presence at AgTech Garage aims precisely to identify opportunities to support our associates linked to agribusiness by fostering innovative solutions that help them in their daily lives, and the engagement in the 'COVID Challenge19' has total synergy with this purpose. We have a strong connection with the rural environment, which has a fundamental role in our society, and where we operate mainly by small and medium farmers, who need all possible support to continue their activity at this challenging time," said Bochi.

What is the “COVID-19 Challenge: digital solutions for agribusiness”?

It is an initiative that aims to bring together startups that offer solutions to empower rural producers and contribute to the production and distribution of food for the population, ensuring the supply and strengthening of the economy. The initiative focuses on tools with high digital impact, rapid adoption and implementation, and in conditions facilitated for acquisition by producers. The solutions must focus on priority areas such as: logistics, remote service, production marketing, access to inputs and credit in a digital way.

Startups will be selected by the evaluation committee made up of representatives of the companies involved in the campaign. The chosen projects will be available, in principle, for two months from the implementation on the Orbia platform, which can be extended depending on the national scenario and the startup's availability to offer the services.

To learn more about the initiative, visit: