What would Marubeni do in the world of ONE PIECE? #3
Supporting Farmers with Sincerity and Innovation
Together, we will solve what farmers cannot do alone. Over the years, Marubeni has been striving to develop and increase the number of solution provider companies in the agricultural industry worldwide.
The company at the forefront of this effort is U.S.-based Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC (“Helena”; founded in 1957 and headquartered in Tennessee). When Marubeni acquired Helena in 1987, its main business was the formulation and sales of agrochemicals, with approximately 100 locations in the United States. Currently, Helena handles a wide range of agri-input products and holds the second largest market share in the U.S. in terms of sales. The company has expanded to approximately 500 locations and has grown into a major corporation with approximately 5,000 employees. Today, Helena prides itself on being a comprehensive solution provider in the agricultural industry.
Helena has its own laboratories and uses science and technology to develop its own products. For instance, it has been developing additives that reinforce the effectiveness of crop protection in various aspects. These additives reduce the amount of spraying and yet are more effective than ordinary crop protection, which allows for both an improvement in productivity and a reduction of crop protection’s environmental impact at the same time. Other products include fertilizers with precisely calculated nutrient formulations and high-value-added products that protect seeds and promote growth.
Helena was also one of the first to focus on data-based precision agriculture back in the 1990s. Today, the company provides customers with suitable solutions using AGRIntelligence®, a proprietary system that integrates digital technology and accumulated knowledge. The system collects, analyzes, and visualizes data on soil, crop growth, and yield. Based on this data, Helena creates detailed plans for each farmer on the optimal agri-input products they can use and when they should be used.
Although it sounds as if Helena has evolved around technology, its greatest strength is its sincere approach to farmers. The company’s employees examine what farmers can do to maximize their crop yields. Truly, the profound respect Helena employees have for farmers has become their driving force. In one of the offices at Helena HQ, there is even a message that reads: “When you sit down for dinner, thank a farmer.”
Working Hand in Hand with Farmers to Support the World’s Food Supply
In 2019, Marubeni took on the challenge of developing a “Second Helena” in Brazil, making Adubos Real S.A., a company that sells agri-input products and consulting services in the country, a Marubeni subsidiary. Adubos Real S.A, which had 10 locations at the time of becoming a Marubeni subsidiary, now has more than 30 locations and aims to further expand in the future.
As the world’s population is expected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, innovation and a sincere desire to support farmers have become essential to preventing severe food shortages.
“Helena is on the cutting edge of agribusiness and has the power to lead the entire industry,” asserts Mr. Shigeki Moriyama, Agri-Input Business Dept., who has experience working at the company. In addition to Adubos Real S.A. in Brazil, Marubeni has also been investing in companies that support precision agriculture in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Mr. Moriyama sums it up perfectly: “We want to support the world’s food supply through agriculture and grow the Marubeni Group’s agri-family even more. That is our dream.”