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Ernandes has expanded role in North America for Monsanto

CULIACAN, SINALOA —  A week after adding U.S. and Canadian sales to his professional responsibilities, Marcelo Ernandes told The Produce News on March 9 that he also will serve as the North America commercial lead for seed sales of Monsanto Co.

Ernandes will be moving to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters from Mexico this June. His sales responsibility continues to involve Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean islands. He has been responsible for Mexican sales for four years. In that time, Mexican seed sales for Monsanto have risen by 24 percent.Marcelo-ErnandesMarcelo Ernandes

“The growth is mainly from tomatoes, hot peppers, onions and other commodities like sweet corn and squash,” he said. “I feel very good about Mexico. Mexico has some unique opportunities.”

Among the opportunities is a border with the huge U.S. market, as well as a “really important, huge domestic market,” he said.

He added that vegetable production growth in Mexico is derived from “new production techniques and we have natural conditions that are very favorable to vegetable production. We have very ‘technified’ growers and the natural conditions of Mexico make it huge for us. I see us continuing to grow in Mexico.”

He continued, “With a longer season here, definitely the clients are demanding year-round production and our customers are doing very well.”

The use of new growing areas with new production technology is causing Monsanto to develop new seeds for that production of items like mini peppers, cherry and grape tomatoes. The use of shadehouse technology with the right seeds is boosting yields and quality.

As to the outlook for Mexico-U.S. trade, Ernandes said, “I think we’ll be OK. We believe there are many possibilities for Mexico and the U.S. to continue to collaborate and grow in agriculture. I don’t think anything drastic will happen in the future.”

Ernandes’ interview with The Produce News came during a large commercial event Monsanto presented to growers in Culiacan on March 9. Monsanto holds such events somewhere in the world about once a year.