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Cargill, the agribusiness giant, claims to invest when others turn their back


He was about to install a pectin plant in Argentina. For lack of scale, he chose Brazil. It ensures that the region is strategic and complements itself. Pectin is obtained in San Pablo from orange peels that travel from Entre Ríos. Blue dollar today: how much it is trading this Sunday, September 19

Silvia Naishtat

09/19/2021 6:00 AM

  • Clarí

  • Economy

Updated 09/19/2021 10:47

55 years old, a veterinarian by profession, two decades at Cargill and a long stay in Argentina in charge of his animal nutrition business, Laerte Moraes recently had to take on another adventure within that food colossus.

This director of the starches and sweeteners division for South America was

about to opt for Argentina for a plant that makes pectin,

that soluble fiber that is a key input in the food industry and that is obtained from the peel of oranges.

But the

lack of scale,

more than other considerations, led him to his native Brazil.

They disbursed US $ 150 million.

They will employ 120 people.

The giant's strategy

"Cargill is strategic, we have been in Argentina for 73 years with constant investments, and we continue to bet on the country and the region

even if the markets turn their backs on them," he

said in a dialogue by Zoom with


The Pectin Plant of Bebedouro, Brazil

Argentina was the first country where Cargill landed after the US in the last century.

And lately it invested in Chile in the production of food for salmon, in the processing of corn and grains in the humid pampas and in cocoa and tomatoes in Brazil.

The manager

does not see as a problem

that the orange peels go from Argentina to Bebedouro, in the interior of São Paulo, to feed what is the

largest and most modern

pectin plant in

the world.

But in Brazil there are

more suppliers of this input

that must be fresh to achieve high quality.

Thus, the orange peels travel to the Bebedouro plant and return converted into pectins to Argentina, thus replacing the

import from Europe.

This journey also confirms a reality: Argentina continues to be the farm and Brazil, the workshop.

The location Cargill chose is explained by the fact that Bebedouro has a history of almost 100 years of orange production in that region.

The citrus boom was between 1970 and 1980 and the city is called the “Brazilian California”.

Cargill produced orange juices and derivatives, a business it sold in 2004.

The importance of pectin

Bebedouro's is Cargill's fourth pectin plant.

“Some time ago, such a high investment would not be justified to deliver a next generation unit with a focus on pectin.

Today, that is our greatest achievement and we are placing Brazil and the region as a reference for other countries, ”says Moraes.

The geographical location

facilitates the access of the raw materials,

since the oranges are grown a few kilometers from the factory.

The demand for pectin places Cargill as a supplier in a sector that is growing influenced by the consumption of acidic dairy drinks, yogurt, jams, sweets and candies, which are some of the main destinations for pectin.

"Our new factory also supplies a

new type of consumer,

more demanding with the origin of the products and more attentive to the different sugar content in the products", completes Laerte Moraes.

Pectin even works as a substitute for gelatin in diets free of animal protein.

Cargill with 155 years of life and its heart in Minneapolis, United States, continues in the

hands of its cousins ​​Cargill and Mac Millan

with its feet in 125 countries and in all the rungs of the agro-industrial chain.

In Argentina it has 3,200 employees distributed in 65 operating centers that export to 70 countries.

When Moraes is asked about decision-making in a global scenario of so much uncertainty, he confesses: "We are not flexible but

we have enormous execution capacity

and that is our great advantage."

Source: clarin

All business articles on 2021-09-19

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