“FMC is challenging itself to have completely sustainable products by 2025, which means products with low residues, low impact, a green toxicity label, and a different mode of action.”
What have been the main highlights and challenges for FMC in 2021 from a business perspective?
I recently heard a phrase which represents 2021 – “It is in the darkest nights that stars shine the brightest”. Despite complications with costs, imports and supplies, and with COFEPRIS and the renovation of registrations, FMC will have its best year ever. This performance is the result of several important measures that FMC has taken: we reduced our portfolio by 15%, but added a group of 15 elite products which gave us a better market position. At the beginning of the pandemic, a high increase in costs was followed by the rupture of the supply chain; however, the agility of FMC mitigated the impact of this. In the end, what affected us the most had to do with regulatory issues due to the renovation of registries.
FMC wants to commercialize 100% sustainable products with minimal residues on crops by 2025. What is the company’s strategy to attain this target?
FMC is challenging itself to have completely sustainable products by 2025, which means products with low residues, low impact, a green toxicity label, and a different mode of action. In the biologicals market, FMC has put some products out, but we plan to position them more decisively in 2022. Our currently sales in biologicals are approximately US$9 million per year, but we have a plan is to double this figure in the next three years. Synthetic chemistry has an important role for FMC, but biologicals will also become a priority.
Nowadays all farmers are combining both technologies, and that is something we need to take advantage of. For the Latin American market, it is important to unlearn preconceived ideas of biologicals. We have been working with FMC’s marketing team to focus on this in 2022.
How are challenges such as government regulations with regard to agrochemicals impacting FMC’s investment plans in Mexico?
We current develop new synthesis products in Monterrey with a partner company: a large factory with whom we have been working for 25 years on the development of bifenthrin and carbosulfan synthesis, among other products. FMC wanted to expand its new synthesis product development in Mexico to break our dependency on China. However, this particular investment had to be stopped because of the uncertain times we are living under the current Mexican government. That said, FMC will continue investing in its business in Mexico in commercial and marketing areas, and then continue investing in synthesis when we see more clarity from the government.
Can you elaborate on FMC’s commitment to gender equality and equal opportunities, including the company’s medium-term aim to have a 50% female staff?
Gender equality and equal opportunities are a priority for FMC. Every month we have at least two virtual meetings to discuss inclusion and gender equality, as well as race and age discrimination. Furthermore, we have monthly training in the company with special guests. We are very proud to share two interesting statistics that show progress: at the end of 2020, female participation in FMC’s Mexican workforce was 23%, but today (December 2021) it is 28%. In December 2020 we only had one woman in the field, today we have six. Our practice is that our pool of interview and candidates should be at least 50% women. The process does not begin if it is not balanced.
Another initiative that we launched recently is a program called “Women united for the field”, which is events lead by our female team, where women from areas like distribution, purchases, technical, packaging and growers are invited. We had the first event in Queretaro, then the Agrifood Expo in Guanajuato, and then in Jalisco. FMC’s aim is to establish a national network and then expand it through North America to strengthen gender equality in our organization and the agricultural sector.
In 2020 and 2021, FMC won multiple awards at the Crop Science Forum & Awards. What contributed to this recognition?
In 2020, FMC won best R&D pipeline and best new biological product, for two products we are preparing to launch in Mexico in 2022 which will allow us to grow in the segments of insecticides, herbicides and biologicals. In 2021, FMC won the best farm intelligence platform for Arc™, which predicts insect pressure. It is an app that brings together different technologies for the farmer, including weather, satellite monitoring and monitoring with traps, to help produce better harvests and make better decisions in the rational use of agrochemicals. For example, it has heat maps that indicate when the biggest larvae explosion of cotton bollworm in corn will occur. Arc is already being used in countries like Brazil, and we started testing the platform in Sinaloa in November 2021, in preparation to present it to the Mexican market in 2022.