University of São Paulo: USP students use practical knowledge to train talent for agribusiness

They want to transmit knowledge and train new talents for agribusiness. Since 2017, students from the Ribeirão Preto School of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEA-RP) at USP carry out consultancies with the market, organize study and mentoring groups with reference persons in the area, in addition to promoting events and projects with students of public schools.

The Agrocare came stimulated by the importance of the sector, together with the strategic location of the college: one of the agribusiness capital. The sector was the only one in the Brazilian economy that grew in 2020, during the covid-19 pandemic. While industrial production across the country was falling, meat and grain exports rose 16% between January and September, according to data from the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea-Esalq-USP).

In the search to train and expand the dissemination of knowledge, Agrocare joined Supera Parque, an innovation hub based at USP, in Ribeirão Preto, which finances startups. Together, they head an educational project on agribusiness in public schools called AgroMuda. The name was inspired by the idea of combining agribusiness with “seedling” – derived from change – and plant seedling, related to growth and development.

The initiative consists of visits to schools in Ribeirão and surroundings, to tell the children a little about the positive side of agribusiness and to awaken the collective interest in an area present in the majority’s daily life.

“Just as there are companies that spend a million reais a year to plant trees, there are also environmental crimes that involve agribusiness. It is important to show that there is a collective of good behind everything and that if it gains a little more strength, it is already a mission accomplished ”, says José Artur Sanches Filho, current president of the entity.

José Artur Sanches Filho and Giovanna Guilherme, members of Agrocare – Photo: Disclosure / Agrocare
With the pandemic, the project was paralyzed and Agrocare needed to organize itself for a new operation. “One possibility that we saw was to receive guests for events and mentoring that we would not be able to do in person. Even with the face-to-face return, I would like to keep these meetings with very nice people outside of Ribeirão Preto, ”predicts Giovanna Guilherme, Agrocare’s vice president. Some of the meetings held during the pandemic are available on Agrocare’s YouTube channel .

Presentation of the AgroMuda project, before the pandemic, carried out in partnership with Supera Parque in order to bring knowledge about agribusiness to schools in Ribeirão Preto and region
Photos: Disclosure / Agrocare
In addition, they began to focus more on social networks, posting regularly on YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. The result was a jump from 600 followers to over 7,000 on Instagram. For the two members of the organization, the attention arose thanks to the creation of content and publication of news, which they consider as a way of giving back their learnings to society.

Their website also gained a new section, after being searched by people who wanted to contribute in some way. Then came the Column of the Follower , a space for agronomists, journalists and other professionals to publish their articles.

Success stories
“If we have the opportunity to study for free at the public university, we have to find a way to repay this to society”, highlights Sanches Filho.

And that is what they did with an organization that sought the advice of the students. The complaint was not seeing a return from the market despite the high investment for sustainable production. To find a way to help, Agrocare went after other organizations in the same industry to understand how they were successful.

Agrocare presentation video

“In addition to being able to study these organizations, we realized that there is a collective view that sustainability is no longer a trend, but a necessity. You either fit in, or your product will not be sold, ”says the president of Agrocare. And, in this case, it was necessary to reach the various segments of sustainability and not only the one related to the product that the organization offered to the market.

Free e-books from Agrocare [click on the images to see the publication]
Participation and mentoring
To plan its actions, Agrocare counts on the guidance of professors from FEA-RP and mentoring by Marcos Fava Neves, professor and researcher in the Faculty’s Administration Department, specialist in agribusiness and strategic planning. In addition to assisting in the foundation of the student body, Neves always monitors and guides students’ activities.

The group has 27 students from the four undergraduate courses: Administration, Economics, Business Economics and Controllership and Accounting Sciences. For carrying out all activities, they are divided into five areas. The four areas focused on the institutional part are People Management (formerly Human Resources), Events, Project Funding and Communication and Marketing. The fifth area, in turn, is study groups. They produce content such as free e-books available on the website.

Currently, there are only four women among the members and Giovanna comments that there was only one other colleague when she joined the group . In similar entities of other universities the numbers are not very different.

In an attempt to reverse this, the group has been promoting events to encourage discussion of the topic and inspire more women to join agribusiness. The most recent were the Women´s Week in Agribusiness and mentoring with Roberta Paffaro – Director of Market Development in Latin America .

Live Women’s Week in Agribusiness – Photo: Reproduction / YouTube
The next Agrocare event will take place this Wednesday, May 5th, at 6:30 pm. With the theme Agricultural operations in the financial market: it is time to halt my production, there will be Agrocare’s Instagram broadcast on this link and the participation of Vicente Zotti, financial market operator specialized in price management consultancy for soybean and corn producers .

It is also possible to watch previous debates on the video channel. To participate in the student organization or to learn more, check out the website or follow Agrocare’s social networks: Instagram , LinkedIn and Youtube .

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