Exclusive One-On-One Interview with Mana Agro CEO
We sat down with Chagai Stern to learn more about the division’s mission and projections for the coming year.Feb 24, 2023 · 3 Minute Read
Mana Agro is Mana Common’s initiative to invest in, and build the future of, agriculture for producers and consumers alike. The dedicated team is constantly seeking solutions for the planet’s growing demand for natural resources, which involves commercial farming and integrating sustainable agriculture into various aspects of the organization’s operations.
In our most recent conversation with none other than Mana Agro’s CEO, Chagai Stern, we indulge in Mana Agro’s mission and get to the roots of the various projects he and the team are working on.
What does Mana Agro mean to you and what is the mission behind the initiative? Is there a particular reason you chose to base the division in Colombia?
Mana Agro was founded in 2016, with the idea to invest in social impact within our agricultural practices; To take a country that’s very rich in natural resources and bring in technology to increase productivity. Colombia is one of the richest countries in natural resources and is geographically the best location. In addition to location benefits, the climate remains the same year-round, enabling us to produce all year. However, even though Colombia has all the natural resources, they’re one of the poorest producers in almost every field, except for coffee and sugar cane. The farmers are very fragmented… they don’t have access to education, finance, or technology… They don’t even have access to the internet. That’s what the Mana Agro team is trying to do- Successfully make a change.
Give us an example of a project you have worked on thus far that has highly impacted the agriculture industry.
One of the larger projects we are still working on is Croper, a digital platform that serves as the largest marketplace in Colombia for farmers to be able to interact, sell products, and buy more affordable fertilizer. Through this platform, we have Croper Academy. This gives farmers education and reconnects them directly to banks for better financing. So, instead of farmers asking various banks for a loan, with Croper, they fill out one form that is sent to all banks, and the banks then compete for the farmer. We also partnered with Microsoft for a project that aimed to improve connectivity in rural areas that don’t have internet by offering it for free through our partnership.
What are your 2023 goals and projections?
We are in the process of purchasing around 4000 hectares of land to continue our avocado production project. Even though Colombia is a world-big producer, it doesn’t have any genetics, so 90% of farms don’t use any, and none use an irrigation system, which deteriorates the quality of the product and drives customers to pay less for them. To change this, Mana Agro is buying a huge amount of land and bringing our own avocado genetics to Colombia. We’re using an irrigation system and technology to be able to do so, like our neighbors. We plan to have huge volumes of production and achieve good quality by educating farmers about genetics and how to plant productively.… This project will also employ close to 2000 people, which makes us very excited.
What is something readers can take away from Mana Agro? What type of impact do you aim to create through the initiative?
We believe it is important for readers to understand that just because the majority of farmers come from third-world countries, that doesn’t mean they should be exploited and/or taken advantage of without receiving something in return. For us, it is about teaching investors how to do things differently, while also leading a sustainable business. By educating the farmers, you still get the fruits.
Mana Agro is taking agriculture to the next level by implementing technology and social impact into their sustainable business plan. Click here to learn more about their upcoming projects.