Agripac SA - Guayaquil, Ecuador
Fittingly, a country that straddles the equator is striving to come full circle in terms of environmentalism. The Republic of Ecuador, while one of the smaller countries in South America, is one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries in the world. The country, which sp ans the Andes-Amazon region and includes the Galapagos archipelagos, surpasses even the entire United States when it comes to biodiversity.
Yet all is not well in Ecuador, where major agricultural exports include bananas, flowers, and cocoa. The country faces numerous environmental challenges, including erosion and desertification.
Agripac SA plans to put an end to that negative trend. The largest agricultural distributor in Ecuador, with 183 points of sale throughout the country, wants to make sure its homeland gets back to protecting its environmental prowess.
“This mission is of great importance since we are in permanent growth, which goes hand in hand with a permanent development of measures aimed at minimizing and mitigating the environmental impacts resulting from agricultural, livestock, and aquaculture activities,” Gabriel Gutiérrez, an Engineer with Agripac, says. “Always keeping in mind that our farmers, as the basis of the food sector, deserve fair treatment, we design expansion policies that allow them to save costs and time by avoiding moving to distant sites to acquire agricultural inputs. Therefore, we enter the productive areas of the country to maintain a direct and personalized contact with our consumers.”
Farmers face four primary environmental issues, Gutiérrez says: 1) inadequate management of hazardous waste; 2) inadequate handling of chemical substances; 3) loss of soil resource due to inadequate application rates; and 4) inadequate handling and control of pests.
In turn, Agripac, which formed in 1972, has developed several initiatives:
- Technical training programs on the correct management of agrochemicals;
- Field days, which bring the company closer to the needs of the farmer;
- Strategic alliances with the faculty of mechanical engineering and production sciences at the Polytechnic School of Litoral to develop student projects that improve Agripac processes through cleaner production while generating a win-win relationship with society;
- Implementation of environmental, industrial safety, quality, and social responsibility compliance policies throughout the Agripac SA Group, which are transmitted to each of the company’s interested parties;
- Participation in mutual aid committees with neighboring industries, with the objective of generating risk-prevention measures inherent to the industrial activities developed in the Agripac SA Group plants;
“Agripac SA … seeks to provide first-hand alternatives to the farmer that allow him to minimize the environmental impact generated by agriculture and prevent occupational hazards,” Gutiérrez says.