Background

AGRONAT: EMPOWERING THE BOLIVIAN FARMERS

Agronat, a Bolivian company with 22 years of experience works with native rural communities in the production of high value added biodynamic products such as Aloe Vera juices, dietary supplements, shampoos and health care products, mainly based on organic Aloe Vera, Quinoa and Amaranth. Agronat engages in long term strategic partnerships with farmers, in which the Company contributes with seedlings, technical assistance, organic certifications, and market support. The rural producers on their part contribute with land, labour and organic fertilizers; and sell the primary production to the Company at predefined fair prices. Thanks to this model, the Company is able to get high quality raw material (such as organic Aloe Vera, Prickly Pear, Quinoa, Amaranth and Estevia Rebaudiana, among others) in order to offer high added value products to the market.

Since its inception in 1993, Agronat has been producing high added value biodynamic products utilizing ancient knowledge. It also introduced consumption of Aloe Vera based products to the domestic market. Over the years, it has diversified its range of products. Currently the enterprise sells 5 lines of products i.e. Aloe Vera Capillar, Aloe Vera Body Care, Aloe Vera Facial, Aloe Vera and Andean Cereals Juices, and Shakes and Organic Food. Each of these lines has its own products, making it a total of 41 products. Agronat is the only company in Bolivia with the stabilization technology that enables added value products to maintain the Aloe Vera’s active principles for a medium term. This earns it the distinction of being top ranked amongst the Aloe Vera based value producers.

In 2014, the Company took 3 main strategic decisions: Exploring new markets - domestic and international, Expansion of production capacity of the current plant, and diversification of products. One of the key results of this was that the company extended the distribution contracts with all the current distributors in Bolivia and signed a new distribution contract with the biggest supermarket of the country. To take advantage of these new market opportunities, the company wanted investment capital to physically expand the plant, mechanize several processes that currently are labour intensive and buy more processing machinery and laboratory equipment. This is when a partnership was formed between Agronat and ICCO Investments.

Agronat now generates 56 permanent and 586 seasonal indirect jobs across the productive value chains of Aloe Vera and Andean grains. The Company works with 381 small organic farmers, offering them long term strategic partnerships. The enterprise’s main raw material is Aloe Vera, whose production offers rural farmers an alternative and profitable livelihood option as compared to coca leaves production, which is the main activity in the area. The company also offers natural and organic nutritional alternatives for diabetics and celiac disease, as also for children, athletes, and the elderly. As a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility policy, the Company arranges free workshops for the Bolivian population on natural healthcare at the national level and also has TV and radio healthcare weekly programs.

With the support from ICCO Investments managed Capital for Development (C4D) fund, the company, under the leadership of its founder, Milton Gonzalez, who has more than 35 years of experience in agriculture, looks to innovate further for development of new products that would ensure long term cash flow and human resources sustainability for the company.

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