The Business Year

Ernesto Trejo Garcia

MEXICO - Agriculture

Field Mix

General Director, Cheminova

Bio

Ernesto Trejo Garcia was born in Mexico City in 1966. He graduated in 1988 as an Agronomist Engineer from the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. He started his professional career in 1990 in Rhone Pulenc Agro, where he occupied various positions until 1998, when he was transferred to Brazil where he worked with Rhone Poulenc, Aventis, and Bayer Crop Science in several positions including R&D, Marketing Manager, Sales Regional Manager, and Business Director for the Northern Region. In 2008, he returned to Mexico to assume the General Direction of Cheminova.

How important is Mexico’s market now in terms of the wider Cheminova Group? For our group, Mexico is one of the most important countries. The group is divided into regions, […]

How important is Mexico’s market now in terms of the wider Cheminova Group?

For our group, Mexico is one of the most important countries. The group is divided into regions, and we are considered a part of the Latin American region. Mexico is not only important in sales, but also in terms of profitability and cash generation. Brazil and Argentina are huge markets, and they are above Mexico in terms of sales. The Mexican company’s importance to Cheminova is mainly in profitability and cash generation. Here in Mexico, we only tend to the local market and do not export. We mainly sell to distributors, which make up about 98% of our sales.

How expansive is your agrochemical products portfolio and what kind of demand is there?

We are strong in two different segments: insecticides and herbicides. We have several generic products and also some specialties, as well. In the case of insecticides, Cheminova owns a number of proprietary products, which are produced mainly in Denmark. We import them, formulate them here, and then sell them in the Mexican market. We have, for example, one compound that we own exclusively, called gamma-cyhalothrin, which is a powerful insecticide. Cheminova has no competitor in that area as it is a difficult product to manufacture. We are developing the business mainly with mixtures of different proprietary products and specialty formulations that are difficult for our competitors to copy. Another segment of the market is fungicides, although we offer only one product at present. Fortunately, that product is also unique. We are developing it for use in different markets, such as for cotton and banana growers. It seems that it has a very good fit there, and we expect that in the next few years it will represent an important part of our business.

What kind of environmental sustainability practices do you have in place?

Through the Mexican Association of the Phytosanitary Industry (AMIFAC) we participate in responsibility programs. Also, in terms of social responsibility, we train people on the use of our products and how to properly dispose of our containers. In the past, you could find a lot of used containers in the soil polluting the environment. Now, our sales team is in charge of giving a five- to 10-minute speech on how to manage the containers. Cheminova also has a program with one partner to donate equipment to growers to protect themselves while spraying liquid products. We donate around 100 to 150 pieces of equipment every year.

“In our current registration program, we have at least 18 products that will give us access to new markets.”

How are you planning to meet growth targets over the next few years?

It is a question of registering new products. In our current registration program, we have at least 18 products that will give us access to new markets that we are not currently participating in. Also, we are developing mixtures. We are selling some of them now, but they are not mature yet. When they reach maturity, it will help us grow. Additionally, we are planning to increase our share in our corn distributors. We have around 150 distributors at the moment, and from those distributors around 40%—50% represent 80% of our total sales. We want to grow more with them. We can do that by offering rebates, support, and price programs according to their success. That is something that we are doing now, and we are planning to continue doing in the following years.

Are you worried about new competition from abroad?

We have new competitors. Some companies have begun to buy from Chinese sources, so the competition is heating up. Some Indian and Chinese companies are also planning on establishing their commercial operations here in Mexico. They do not only want to sell to the Mexican companies, but also to distributors. However, they compete only on price. They do not offer any services, so I am not afraid of the competition. However, I am afraid of illegal or unethical competition. The market is for everyone, and everybody has to fight for their share of the market.

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