06/13/2012 18h00

Syngenta inaugurates biofactory worth US$ 100 million in Itápolis with support from Investe SP

It will generate 200 direct jobs in the region; the unit was designed to produce 3.6 million small sugarcane seedlings, called Plene

The State of São Paulo will be the headquarters, as from Wednesday, June 13, of one of the largest biofactories in the world. Syngenta has just inaugurated, in Itápolis, a city located 365 km from the state capital, the first unit designed to produce 3.6 million sugarcane seedlings called Plene.

“The opening of the biofactory of Syngenta consolidates the State of São Paulo as the largest sugarcane center in the country, accounting for 60% of the sector, for the main research institutes and also for the technology of the entire chain,” says the president of Investe São Paulo, Luciano Almeida.

The Plene technology is innovative and was developed in Brazil by Syngenta to simplify the process of planting, by providing seedlings treated against diseases and pests. The seedlings measure approximately 5 cm in length and represent an evolution compared to the conventional system, where sugarcane is planted with 40 to 50 centimeters. The planting is done by smaller and lighter machines than conventional ones, which promotes a lower soil compaction and reduce the consumption of biodiesel and facilitate direct planting in this crop.

“We understand that the challenges to increase productivity are numerous. Only by integrating technologies and expertise we can provide sugarcane with a productive and sustainable leap and Plene is one of the answers to this,” says the global director of sugarcane from Syngenta, Daniel Bachner. The revenue potential of Plene is US$ 500 million. “This is one of the main projects of Syngenta in the world, and the most important throughout Latin America,” Bachner concludes.
Located in an area of 480,000 m², the new unit is the result of an investment of US$ 100 million and will generate 200 direct jobs in the region, reaching 1,100 direct and indirect jobs during the harvest. The 36 machines currently in operation produce 400 cuttings of Plene per second, ready for planting. The production is automated, from the cleaning of sugarcane up to the cutting of the stalks and application of pesticides. Due to the openness and growing demand for the technology, during the inaugural event Syngenta has announced that it plans to invest in the duplication of the structure and the production capacity of the plant.

Investe São Paulo advises the company since May 2011 and articulated – along with the State Department of Logistics and Transport and the Regulatory Agency of Transports of São Paulo (Artesp) – the construction of an access road to the new plant. “By helping companies make their investments in the state successfully, being a link between the private and public sector, Investe SP contributes to increasing the competitiveness of the state economy,” says the general manager of Institutional and International Relations of the agency, Wilson Soares.

According to the president of Investe SP, the installation of the factory in Itápolis will boost the local economy. “The city has IPRS 3, which transforms the company’s investment into a development tool for the entire population of the Northwestern state,” he says. Prepared by Fundação Seade, the Paulista Index of Social Responsibility (IPRS) orders the 645 municipalities of São Paulo according to three dimensions: income, education and longevity. The municipalities classified in group 3 are characterized with low level of wealth, but have good indicators in other dimensions.

Innovation in green economy and biotechnology
The biofactory of Syngenta is one of the largest in the world. It occupies 10,000 square meters, divided between laboratory and greenhouses. Destination of US$ 15 million of the total invested by Syngenta in Itápolis, the biofactory adopted processes hitherto unprecedented in agribusiness.

It was in the pharmaceutical industry that Syngenta has found an appropriate way to keep the unit free of contamination. The air treatment system used ensures only its output from the environment, never allowing the air to come from the outside through doors or windows. Air contamination is also avoided indoors. Each room of the biofactory is isolated from each other by chambers.

Another solution that Syngenta has brought from the pharmaceutical industry was the bar code reader, which allows, quite simply, to ensure the traceability of its entire production. Thus, each shipment leaving the factory towards the producer has a clone in the biofactory, which development is constantly being monitored.

To meet the demand for Plene, the biofactory accelerates the growth of seedlings, from one year and a half to nine months, in heated and humidified chambers. This is the case of one of the greenhouses that, for the fog, appears in the distance, with the inside of a refrigerator when, in fact, the temperature exceeds 45ºC and humidity reaches 90%. For more information, visit: http://www.syngentaemitapolis.com.br

About Investe SP
Investe São Paulo - Agência Paulista de Promoção de Investimentos e Competitividade – is the gateway for companies that intend to settle their operations in the state, besides stimulating the expansion of businesses that are already settled in São Paulo.  The agency provides strategic information free of charge, helping investors find the best locations for their businesses and facilitating the interaction of companies with public and private entities.
The agency currently has 62 projects in the portfolio, which account for a potential investment of R$ 17 billion, with capacity to generate approximately 40,000 direct jobs. So far, the work of Investe SP has contributed by supporting 27 companies to invest R$ 11.4 billion to build their plants in the State, employing over 20.8 thousand workers. Toyota, Hyundai, Chery, Vale, Gerdau, AGC are some of the companies that were advised by the agency in the completion of their undertakings in São Paulo.