Real Story about Plant Health

21 de fevereiro de 2020

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Founder Partners & Chief Executive Officers of Agronômica Laboratory, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

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Agronômica Headquarters, Laboratory of Phytosanitary Diagnosis and Consulting, twelfth floor of the building

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Inspection and collection of olive seedlings in a nursery

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Desert locust, Schistocerca greagaria. Pest collected during an inspection process by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply and identified in the Agronômica Laboratory.

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Almost complete team of the Agronômica Laboratory

O Agronômica submeteu um breve resumo de sua história para ser publicada pela FAO (Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e a Agricultura) como conscientização sobre a importância da saúde das plantas no Ano Internacional de Saúde de Plantas (The International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020). As histórias selecionadas serão traduzidas para seis idiomas para inspirar pessoas em todo o mundo através das plataformas online da FAO e IPPC (International Plant Protection Congress), mídia social e tradicional e eventos, incluindo exposições.

As instruções sobre o tipo de história que pode ser submetida podem ser encontradas no seguinte link:

O artigo completo está abaixo:

Title: ONE WAY! by Patrícia de Souza Teló

Where does it come from? Where does it lead?
In a normal day, it is a simple journey, which takes us from one place to another. In the context of a lifetime, it is a decision, sometimes the choice between the longest or the shortest route. In the lives of two people, the path is a challenging sharing, which can lead to the precious transformation of a dream into an ideal of life.
Driven by the desire to undertake this challenge and a passion for agribusiness, Agronomists Patrícia de Souza Teló and Valmir Duarte, founding partners of Agronômica, Laboratory of Phytosanitary Diagnosis and Consulting, obtained in 2006 the accreditation of the first private laboratory in Brazil with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), to meet the demands of detecting and diagnosing pests, coming from international transit of agricultural products and by-products.
The path of professional success shared by the partners arose from the identification of an innovative business opportunity: promoting plant health.
As a plant bacteriology researcher at the Agronomy College at UFRGS, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Valmir, returning from his doctorate in “Plant Health” in the USA, he faced, in 1991, the challenge of structuring the Department of Plant Health, fragmented into several buildings, in the midst of
the country's economic crisis. In view of the scarcity of financial resources and the consequent lack of government incentive to research, and even to the building maintenance of public universities, the then professor of the discipline of Agricultural Microbiology and Phytopathology had to find an economical alternative that would make it possible to renovate buildings for the establishment of the Department and the enjoyment of students, teachers and other researchers.
The passion for applied phytopathology, the interest in solving the needs of small farmers and the perception of a great opportunity with private companies, transformed a little explored reality, into a source of fundraising.
And so, the stone path built to connect the Department of Plant Health to the Central Building of the Agronomy College, became a landmark of his management, and led to the rupture of a scenario of economic dependence for a period of strength, which culminated with the structuring of a Clinical
Plant accredited by the MAPA.
During her academic training journey, Agronomist Patrícia was always identified with the production of vegetables, and found in this area the diversity of possibilities that would allow her to invest in an autonomous path as a professional. The desire to stay with the family in their hometown, Porto
Alegre, as well as the desire to “make their own business happen”, provided Patricia, in love with tomatoes and lettuce, to discover in fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes a great opportunity to provide an essential service to society: protecting agricultural borders.
After two years of work at A Clinical Plant, created by the current partner Valmir, Patrícia started in 2003 the Agronômica - Plant Clinic and Consultancy to meet the demands of rural producers. The initial trajectory of Patrícia, who did not like plant pathology during the golden years of college, was marked by
the challenges of captivating and retaining an audience of small producers unaware of the importance of knowing the problems and paving the way for more assertive solutions.
The path to success or failure was clear. It required going through the regulatory requirements of the MAPA. The challenge became the passion of the young entrepreneur, and there arose the professional trajectory of the agronomist: procedural processes.
The need for changes led to the merger of the two clinics and, in May 2006, Agronômica became the first private Phytosanitary Diagnostic Laboratory in Brazil accredited to attend a wide range of situations. Here we have the coming together of two paths, two lives, with the same passion to undertake
and carry forward an immense love for the cause of plant protection. This is a summary of our story.
The company's natural path was expansion. It was from the family home loaned to the corporate floor of a commercial building, from the compact payroll of two employees to a strategic HR with 45 people, from the book of sample registration to the QR code of the samples, from the MAPA accreditation to InMetro accreditation, from bilateral comparison to international performance, internal reference material for the collection of biological agents, from the roots to the branches.
The focus on continuous improvement of processes, the obstinate reinvestment in technology and the incessant qualification of a multidisciplinary team contributed to the establishment of performance parameters at the national level, and above all, contributed to the quality standard of agricultural products imported by the country.
In 2007, MAPA's defense actions, based on the results of detecting the mite Brevipalpus chilensis in fruits, led to the adoption of new bilateral agreements between Brazil and Chile, a fact that guaranteed the continuity of imports across the dry borders of the southern region of the country. Between the years 2009 and 2012, the return of innumerable batches of seeds imported from different countries due to the detection of invasive plant seeds, led to an improvement in the quality of the internalized batches, and a consequent decrease in weeds in the matches taken to the field.
The consecutive record soybean crops transported by Brazilian ports to China, determined the need for the development and validation of rapid and accurate methods of detecting different phytosanitary restriction pests. The same reports, once issued in seven days, were released in just 24 hours from the use of more specific molecular techniques.
Agronômica's performance in the official present pest survey programs, as a laboratory of the National Plant Protection Network in the country, promoted the growth of pest-free areas, as well as the expansion of areas cultivated with cocoa, coffee, citrus and bananas, for example. phytosanitary certification programs of origin or propagated seedlings.
In these 14 years of activity of Agronômica, detections and determinations of quarantine pests for Brazil, as well as phytosanitary restrictions for partner countries, favored the growth of Brazilian agribusiness and the opening of new markets for the commercialization of agricultural products.
Sometimes, on this journey, the frustration of some promoted the recognition of others. Detections and identifications of exotic pests for the country contributed in different situations, to give visibility to the technical quality of the group of researchers that make up the panel of analysts. New pests identified and taxonomically named by the Agronômica group have already toured scientific panels at International Meetings, leaving a legacy, a contribution for the next generations.
Humanity's future depends on the production of healthy food. Protecting the plants, promoting their health is the only way capable of guaranteeing the perpetuity of the natural resources and diversity that we have. Promoting plant health is the safe way that will bring us food security.
Where do we come from? From the desire to make a difference ...
Where do we go? To an uncertain place ... a mysterious path that must be trodden with love and trust in God. But ... as the song says: "If you search with your soul, your meaningful paths will have, and you will see all this mystery answered in your heart".