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How to optimize agribusiness during a quarantine?

The crisis will force agricultural companies to work differently. What decisions will quarantine push agribusinesses towards, and which companies will maintain their competitiveness?

Leonid Vlasov (hereafter referred to as L.V.), Director of "METEOTREK," and Vadim Kochevikh (hereafter referred to as V.K.), CEO of "IT INOVATIONS," discuss the prospects of agribusiness and the activities of their companies during the quarantine.

Ukrainian agribusinesses have a chance to establish a strong presence in the international market

L.V.: The agricultural sector will experience an indirect impact from the quarantine because fieldwork, planting, season preparation, and the onset of the season are unlikely to undergo significant changes. This is what we see happening now.

However, service companies that do not directly perform fieldwork but supply products or offer specific services to the agricultural sector may be more susceptible to the effects of the quarantine. They might provide their services less promptly or in smaller volumes, which will certainly affect the resources of agribusiness companies.

Moreover, communication, which has traditionally been direct among agrarians (in-person meetings, face-to-face interactions), will now shift more towards digital platforms: messengers, communicators, and various tools for conducting virtual conferences, etc. There will be much less direct interaction.
V.K.: Firstly, agricultural companies will definitely start thinking about the need to work differently. Secondly, the quarantine, not only in our country but also in Europe, may provide a significant incentive for our agrarians, including not just large agro-holdings, to establish a strong presence in the international market.

At the moment, the quarantine requirements and the coronavirus epidemic, at least according to official data, are not as widespread as in Europe. This means that our agrarians have more opportunities to continue working. Consequently, they have a better chance of achieving effective results at the end of the season and entering international export markets.

The situation in the agricultural sector may create a window of opportunity for Ukrainian agribusinesses to expand their international reach. This could be a time for them to adapt to the changing landscape and increase their competitiveness on the global stage.

Farmers are currently thinking about survival, not innovation

L.V.: Implementation programs of innovations, which were agreed upon and budgeted by companies last year or at the beginning of this year before the quarantine announcement, will be carried out as planned.
Farmers who act more operationally (without planning) will partially change their approach to implementing innovations and will do so at a slower pace. For the third group, the subject of any novelties is currently closed. Perhaps their main thoughts are occupied with other issues right now, and innovations are somewhere in the distant corner, waiting for their time.

V.K.: Farmers at the moment, especially smaller farms, will be more focused on survival. It depends more on the mentality of each individual businessperson: some may see salvation for their business and transitioning to a new quality level precisely in innovations – by optimizing costs, automating processes, and increasing the profitability of their business.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, this is the minority. Over half of the farmers will still work in the old way, as they are used to, and optimize their business by cutting costs: staff ("I'll do everything myself"), economizing on everything, and, especially, refusing any investments in innovations.

He who can implement innovations now will have prospects after the crisis

L.V. I will draw an analogy with sales. When the market is declining, and the number of sales is decreasing, any professional advises cutting various expenses, except for marketing expenses. This is because this category of expenses allows, firstly, to maintain one's position in a declining market. Secondly, when the crisis is over, it significantly increases sales volumes.

The same goes for innovation in the agricultural sector. Despite the impending crisis, we understand that innovations are meant to optimize the existing technologies and business processes. In any case, they won't make things worse.

But those who manage to maintain the trend of innovation implementation now (unlike their partners and competitors) will be noticeably ahead when the crisis is over.
V.K. I'm confident that "life will never be the same again," so those enterprises, farms, and businesses that can change something in their business processes and learn to operate by different rules and standards at this moment, during quarantine and crisis, are much more promising. Right now is an excellent time for innovation implementation since many solutions are being offered under special conditions, significantly cheaper than the usual cost or even for free. It's a great opportunity for those who have long wanted to but couldn't make the decision to start implementing innovations under entirely different terms.

"METEOTREK" and "IT INNOVATIONS" are adapting to the market and meeting the needs of their customers

L.V. METEOTREK is primarily viewed as a product that ensures maximum efficiency in the processes that occur in agriculture, the timeliness of these processes, and the most effective use of the available resources of the enterprises.

And, of course, in a time when resources become as valuable as gold (although they always were, but it's felt differently now), the effectiveness of our meteorological monitoring solutions significantly increases.

Imagine untimely or unpredictable equipment movements between regions or areas during quarantine.

Or the delivery of additional volumes of crop protection agents (CPA) caused by untimely application and insufficient resources of the enterprise.

Now it's even harder and more expensive than usual.

Most often, such logistical and operational errors are caused by a lack of control over weather forecasts or the current meteorological situation in the field.
V.K. I would like to add that we are adapting to the market, and we are meeting our customers halfway. Speaking of our GPS monitoring and fuel control direction, for companies that use little or do not use this technology, we are currently offering discounts of up to 50% on subscription fees. As for all other customers, we have special terms for the purchase of new equipment.

Regarding weather stations, we have a special offer for all new customers: discounts on equipment and free use of the software until the end of the year. We hope that this will make decision-making easier for our customers and help them continue to implement innovative products in their enterprises.

Special offers for farmers: discounts on equipment and free use of software

L.V. Our group of companies has considered the quarantine as a force majeure circumstance from the very beginning, even though the agricultural sector has not been as severely affected.

Of course, we strive to be as accommodating as possible to all our partners and clients. This is reflected in the discounts on our equipment or in the free use of our software, which we invest in to support every day.

Regardless of how long the quarantine may last, we aim to demonstrate the utmost human approach, loyalty, and support from our company.
V.K. We all hope that this adversity that led to the quarantine will end sooner or later with minimal losses for everyone. We want to wish everyone good health, inspiration, successful business endeavors, and a productive season. We will support our customers to the best of our abilities from our side.
Source: Aggeek.net