More than a thousand associates, 470 employees, 21 service centers distributed in almost the same number of locations and three business units. This is how the Cotagro cooperative, owned by General Cabrera, is presented on its website and constitutes a faithful depiction of the dimension that one of the largest business entities of this type in the interior of the country has reached.
Although its main business focus is linked to agriculture, through both primary production and industrialization, it also has three supermarkets, a shopping center where it sells construction and household items. In addition to offering mutual, tourism and insurance services.
Last October 31, it closed its annual exercise (from November of each year to October of the next) and the results achieved indicate that, in the midst of the pandemic, the cooperative broke several records: it was the year in which more volume of grain was collected and in the one with the highest number of exports.
“This year we have exceeded 700 thousand tons for the first time among all the grains collected. It is a new record, above the 612 thousand of last year ”, said Raúl Bossio, general manager of Cotagro, to The voice.
On average, in previous campaigns, the company had stored about 500 thousand tons, which means a significant jump in the last two years.
Based on this sustained increase, Bossio anticipated that the Cooperative’s Board of Directors approved investments in the plants it owns in Las Perdices and Río Cuarto, where two other silos will be installed in each location with space to collect up to five thousand tons each one.
In other words, it will add 20 thousand tons more to its installed capacity, which will require investments of around two million dollars.
In parallel, Bossio remarked: “It was a very special year, because even in the context of the pandemic we managed to open two new centers, one in Las Acequias and the other in Pueblo Italiano. The truth is that they were two milestones in such a complicated year ”.
Peanuts for the world
On the other hand, the manager of the cooperative pointed out that they are also modernizing the blanched peanut plant (without skin), through the incorporation of technology, with a disbursement of around 800 thousand dollars.
Precisely, another of the records that the cooperative reached is the exported volume: it reached 48,200 tons, 32.2 percent above 2019 and almost 9,000 tons more than the previous maximum that was 39,500 in 2017.
The bulk, about 42 thousand tons, correspond to peanuts. And the rest to other so-called “special” crops: 3,800 tons of chickpea, 1,700 tons of pisingallo corn, 500 tons of mung beans and 200 tons of confectionery sunflower.
“Since the year runs from November to October, much of what we export corresponds to the 2018/19 peanut production, which was very good. And when we finished shipping that, in May, we did not suffer any bumps because this year’s harvest was fast, and with good quality indicators, “said Elvio Cerutti, head of the Cotagro peanut department.
According to Cerutti, at the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot of demand from importers due to the need to stock up, and then purchases slowed down, until mid-year they returned to normal. To such an extent that Cotagro has already committed all the sale of the peanuts that it currently has in storage.
As market conditions are good – the price of blanched peanuts is around $ 1,800 against a historical average of $ 1,500 – the company increased the area sown on its own account or through its associated producers by around 15 percent.
In parallel, they also made a record planting of pisingallo corn because the objective is to continue diversifying foreign trade through more “specialties”, despite the fact that the share of these crops is likely to decline due to the chickpea harvest this year it will be very bad in Córdoba as a result of the drought.