Record of public and exhibitors, the SINDAG’s expo continues in Sertãozinho next year and set its agenda for the next 12 months in research, articulation with government and political authorities and preparations for the Latin American meeting
After the 2019 edition of the Brazilian Agricultural Aviation Congress, last Thursday, the Brazilian Union of Agricultural Aviation Companies (SINDAG) has already started counting down to the 2020 meeting, again in Sertãozinho, State of São Paulo, in July 28-30 next year. The program will be held again at the Zanini Event Center, which last week hosted the largest ag aviation meeting ever in the country. Since Tuesday (July 30), 3,100 people visited 143 exhibitors and attended the 42 lectures and five discussion forums – Scientific, Political, on drone legislation and market, lack of aviation gasoline and aerial application technologies, which occupied 9,000 of the 12,000-square-meters space pavilion.
Also featuring airplanes from an old 1961’s Pawnee tandem seat trainer to modern Air Tractor AT-502, 602 and 802 models – as well as aircraft firefighting demonstrations, the program was attended by representatives of 11 countries. Not to mention the 105 ag aviation companies who went to the expo, lectures and forums – representing more than 60% of SINDAG’s associates and around 40% of the 253 Brazilian companies flying over crops.
While technology, equipment and service providers celebrate excellent deals and contacts in this edition, SINDAG celebrates the new phase of an event that has gained political and strategic consistency and promoted a list of articulations and research to be worked on over the next 12 months. In other words, the agenda of the SINDAG Congress no more stops between its annual editions.
Without overkill risk, it’s possible to expect even more significant numbers 2020’s SINDAG’s ag aviation congress, especially given that the next programming in Sertãozinho will have Latin American coverage – according to the relay that exists for over a decade between Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Scenario, by the way, that should have an unfolding later this week, at the Mercosur and Latin American Congress of Agricultural Aviation 2019, which starts this Wednesday and runs until Friday (July 7th to 9th), in Uruguay. On the last day of the meeting – in Arapey Hot Springs, in the Salto department, in the northwest of the country, SINDAG’s president, Thiago Magalhães, should take command of the Mercosur and Latin American Agricultural Aviation Committee to prepare the 2020’s continental edition, in Brazil.
For the SINDAG’s president, the increase in debates on strategic topics and with a larger audience of politicians, authorities and technicians, as well as strengthening communication with society – including bringing students from elementary classes to agronomic sciences classes to the expo and allowing residents of the city and region to enter with guided tours and to watch aerial demonstrations – was extremely positive for the consistency of the Congress in Sertãozinho and for the image of Brazilian agricultural aviation. “In addition to strengthening our market, we need to clarify society’s view of the importance of agricultural aviation for the country. Even more ahead of the expectation of growth in the sector for the next years”, emphasizes Magalhães. “Taking a simplistic analysis from the expected growth of the current 240 million tons of grains (in the 2019/2020 crop) to 300 million in the next five years (according to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture), Brazilian agriculture will need 200 to 400 new aircraft to ensure productivity with environmental safety”, says the president.
In the political scenario, one of the highlights was the lecture by the representative of the Parliamentary Agricultural Front (FPA), federal deputy Arnaldo Jardim, about the view of the group (whose members account for more than a third of the lower house and a quarter of the Senate seats) in defense of the Brazilian agriculture. Another novelty at the Brazilian ag aviation meeting was the Political Forum, which had members of the House of Representatives and a state legislative house (Rio Grande do Sul, which has the second largest ag aviation fleet in Brazil) and from municipalities of São Paulo (state with the third largest fleet) and the mayor of the city of Poxoréu (Mato Grosso state) and former president of SINDAG, Nelson Paim. In addition to a representative of Canal Rural, a TV network specializing in agribusiness. The focus of the meeting was the almost exclusively on the need to take information about the agricultural aviation industry to all legislative houses in Brazil, to avoid projects based in stereotype against the aviation.
Also highlighting the meeting with the press, where in addition to information on the expectations of Brazilian aviation and the Congress, SINDAG leaders talked with journalists about the sector’s view on the importance of a free press. They also told how SINDAG teaches her associates about the importance of open channels with all local journalists to convey background information about a so technical sector. At the same time, the ag aviation leaders asked journalists to always have a chance to provide their version of any critical industry news, both to avoid stereotypes on newspaper pages and to present their solutions in the event of failures.
“We opened space for technology and service startups, our expo had the massive presence of aviation technology schools – including a mobile avionics lab and the design of a technical school making a wooden experimental plane, not to mention drone and other technology innovations. Not forgetting programs for bee protection and counting on high-tech companies in chemical and biological products”, say the SINDAG’s executive director Gabriel Colle. “In short, we approach even more segments that were previously scattered, but that have much to offer the industry and vice versa. It was a very big intellectual gain”, he sums it up.
The Congress in Sertãozinho also served for the sector to formalize and deepen partnerships for transparency and continuous improvement of the activity. As in the signing of the agreement of Sindag with the Organization of Sugarcane Planters of the Center-South Region of Brazil (ORPLANA) and the Sugarcane Industry Union (UNICA), which took place at the opening of the Congress. The agreement between the three entities is to improve environmentally sustainable practices in sugarcane crops and to hire agricultural operators committed to the good image of the sector, according to SINDAG’s qualification programs.
Or in the Scientific Forum and in the meeting with members of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and of the Ministry of Agriculture – which took place during the programming. About the Forum, the SINDAG’s objective was to identify with the ag aviation operator aspects of the activity where technical studies could improve the techniques or simply prove its safety – to reinforce good image and overturn stereotypes. The result was a list of scientific research to be proposed to universities or institutes – if possible, to be presented it progress at the 2020 Congress.
As for meeting SINDAG / EMBRAPA / Ministry of Agriculture, the leaders requested government support for the expansion of the research project in partnership between the union of ag aviation and the research corporation. The objective is to complement and expand the REDAGRO project, which between 2013 and 2017 had research on aerial application technologies in rice, soybean and sugarcane crops in three Brazilian regions: South, Midwest and Southeast. It was the largest agricultural aviation industry research ever conducted in Brazil, which in June resulted in the publication of a technical note reinforcing the importance and safety of the ag aviation, in addition to the need for the country to discuss a food security strategy free of ideological passions.
“The SINDAG’s Congress is the 2nd largest ag aviation event that Air Tractor attends annually. It’s been very beneficial to it and it continues to grow as does our customer base in Brazil”, said Jim Hirsch, president of the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural airplanes. Every year he comes to Brazil to attend the ag aviation meeting. “Once again it’s an honor to be here with all our customers their families at this great event that send that Congress puts on”, highlights the Texan executive – the other event referred by him is the National Agricultural Aviation Association Convention (NAAA), in the world’s largest ag aviation market – and ´ll take place in Orlando, Florida, next November.
Air Tractor supplies turboprop aircrafts, sector that represented two thirds of increase in Brazilian agricultural aviation industry in 2018 (which was 3.74%). In five years, the Brazilian turboprop fleet has grown more than 50%.
Among the foreign visitors, South African businessman Eugene Kalafatis came to the SINDAG’s event for the second time. “The expo in Sertãozinho is much larger” (he also visited the 2018’s Congress, in Maringá/PR). Client of the Brazilian Travicar – who makes the electrostatic spray system (SPE) and other technologies, Kalafatis says that he also comes to learn. “Brazil is really a leader when it comes to agricultural technologies.” In Africa, Kalafatis treats 76,000 hectares of crops (especially sugarcane using helicopters) and provides rotary wing systems to several countries.
Optimism that also include Brazilian companies of all sizes, such as Gusmang Mangueiras Aeronáuticas (aeronautic hoses), from the Parana state. “We have participated in the Congress since the 2017 edition (held in Canela/RS). We always get new clients and we do a lot of sales”, says businessman Gustavo Aluísio de Paula. In addition to the large showcase for the market, for him personal contact with customers makes all the difference. “This is where operators can get to know our products closely.” Feedback that he thinks is very important and that the businessman no longer wants to give up. “We have already booked our booth for 2020,” he adds.