Global Opportunities

Argentina biotech market: opportunities for Swiss expertise and innovation

Agriculture is a key sector in Argentina, producing food for over 400 million people worldwide. Biotechnologies used in the process reduce the use of agrochemicals, tillage and allow adaption to climate change. Swiss biotech companies can contribute their expertise.

BioArk in Valais, Switzerland: operators in front of the production line (symbolic picture)
BioArk in Valais, Switzerland: operators in front of the production line (symbolic picture)

Argentina: food producer for 400 million people worldwide
With 40 million inhabitants in Argentina, they are suppliers of food with a production of for 400 million people worldwide, agriculture is very important in the economic as in the social role. Over time, all the technologies used to produce more and more have to be maintained and incorporated.

Biotechnologies are very controlled technologies and contribute to sustainability because they reduce the use of agrochemicals, the use of tillage and allow adaptation to climate change. They are checked that they are safe for human consumption. From the agricultural sector they have both a humanitarian and commercial role.

A thriving environment for research and biotech companies
Argentina has a large number of research institutions and biotechnology companies dedicated to the development and production of inputs for agriculture, health and food. With respect to genetically modified (GM) crops, Argentina is one of the leading countries in the use of GM crops in its agriculture, with more than 22 million hectares dedicated to soy, maize and cotton crops that use this technology. The adoption process began in 1996 with the introduction of the first soybean tolerant to the herbicide glyphspate and has continued uninterruptedly, with an almost unprecedented adoption dynamics worldwide and has led to the current Type of technologies are used in practically the entire soybean crop, in 92% of the maize area and in more than 99% of the cotton surface

At the same time, in the research and development sector, transgenesis is also used to obtain improved crops or with certain properties. Projects in sugar cane, corn, soy and cotton, among others, stand out. Regarding the regulation of genetically modified crops, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MinAgri) authorizes planting, consumption and marketing.

Argentina: a highly competitive food industry
Within the area of ​​food, Argentina has a consolidated and highly competitive industry. Innovative developments and new technologies drive the growth of the sector in the country. The increasing application of biotechnology in the industry contributes to enhance the role of Argentina as a supplier of differentiated foods. Several Argentine companies are present in the bioactive ingredients industry and based on bioprocesses for food. Some current projects include the incorporation of functional ingredients in food products such as pro-biotic and pre-biotic bacterial cultures (from maize, new fibers obtained from pulses and concentrated bioactive fruits from forest fruits and flax). In Argentina, there are agreements between companies and successful research organizations, which represent a valuable and necessary activity. The CERELA (Lactobacillus Reference Center of CONICET) agreement with the SanCor company for the production and commercialization of Bio Milk is a good example, as it is the result of several years of research by CERELA and the University of Tucumán on lactic bacteria, Nutrition and effects on immunity in humans. Another area that is growing is biotechnology applied to the improvement of the environment.

For a few years now, Argentina has become a major producer and exporter of biofuels, since it has abundant raw materials (oilseeds, sugars, etc.) for processing. At present, there are many Argentine and multinational companies in the country dedicated to the production of biofuels, whose activity is regulated by Law No. 26.093 (Regulation and Promotion Regime for the Sustainable Production and Use of Biofuels).

How Swiss companies can benefit
As companies in Argentina have major development and test facilities due to abundant crops areas, raw materials are in need, the raw materials are not locally produced so trade and imports are vital for biotechnology development.

Assistance in technological developments and related services like certification processes upgrades and homologation of national authorities with international biotechnology companies are in much need for public and private development in the field.

Also the Argentinean National Technology and Scientific Promotion Agency present different innovation projects created by Institutes and Universities around the country which are opened to finance.  

Are you a Swiss biotech company wanting to make investments in the food sector in Argentina? Contact Fabio Speciale, Consultant South America. Contact us now

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