The Agronutrients Gala

In a previous piece of news, we anticipated that Valencia would host the Agronutrients Gala and that it would take place on the afternoon of June 7 at the Reina Sofía Palace of Arts in the City of Sciences.

This Gala is held within the framework of the 25th anniversary of AEFA (Spanish Association of Agronutrient Manufacturers) and it has brought together, in addition to members of its 58 associated companies (manufacturers of Agronutrients and agricultural Biostimulants), representatives of public institutions and private companies, producer organizations, certifiers, Associations, and other actors around the world of Agronutrition, in which Spain is an international benchmark.

The Gala began by thanking the guests for their assistance by Camino García, General Director of AEFA; followed by the speech of its President, Juan Pardos.

Better than adapting to change is anticipating change

Do you remember what the world was like 25 years ago, in 1997? Do you remember what your companies were like, your jobs? And how was the agricultural sector? The truth is that you have to make a real effort to remember, because what happened in just 25 years does not stand up to any comparison. ” With these questions he began his speech From him Juan Pardos.

He went on to state that “ the best way to adapt to change is to anticipate change ”. This is truly difficult and hence one of the virtues of AEFA: its ability to have been a pioneer in anticipating the evolution of the agricultural sector.

In this sense, AEFA and therefore its Associates, has known and knows how to anticipate technological, cultural, legislative and market changes in food production. Concepts that we all have assimilated today as unavoidable engines of agro-industrial progress: Sustainable agriculture, Farm to Fork, Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, Climate change or Food security, for example, are concepts that were already accepted and in the DNA of AEFA, with prior to its dissemination.

Working together with the Administrations in favor of the sector

Next, Ms. Esperanza Orellana Moraleda, General Director of Production and Agricultural Markets, intervened. In his speech he highlighted the effort of this Association, not only for the defense of the interests of its Associates as Manufacturers of Agronutrients and Agricultural Biostimulants, but also for its constant predisposition to work side by side with the Administrations in favor of the sector, both national and European level.

And that effort has its reward and an example of this is that the development of this strategic activity, such as fertilization, makes Spain a world reference.

The agronutrients and biostimulants sector in the world

The intervention of Mr. Roger Llanes Ribas, Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development and Director of the Valencian Agency for Agricultural Promotion and Guarantee (AVFGA) followed, who highlighted the importance of what AEFA represents in the Agronutrients and Biostimulants sector in the world.

And specifically, as the use of Biostimulants to promote plant growth is gaining more and more attention, estimating that the size of the world market will reach 3 billion euros in 2022 and with a growth rate of 12, 4% year-on-year, and could reach 5 billion euros in 2026. This would confirm the growing trend in the use of this type of technologically advanced products.

In Spain, it is estimated that there are more than a hundred manufacturing companies, with a consolidated structure, most of which also export to more than 100 countries on five continents. Most of the Spanish companies are grouped in AEFA.

Special recognition to the founding companies of AEFA

One of the emotional moments of the Gala was the special recognition of the founding companies of AEFA through a plaque delivered to each of their representatives by Ms. Esperanza Orellana and Mr. Roger Llanes.

The founding companies are Artal, Atlántica Agrícola, Biagro, Codiagro, JISA, LIDA, Life, Meristem, Morera and Plymag.

Continuing with emotional moments, after the delivery of the plaques, Gregorio Murillo, manager of JISA, wanted to share this recognition with Francisco Ponce, manager at that time of JISA and current Honorary President of AEFA. A moment that highlights the human quality of the people involved in this Association.

So close in football and so far apart in business

The time has come for the intervention of the former presidents of AEFA and the first is Francisco Artal Huerta, representing his father, Francisco Artal Such, the first president of AEFA.

And he does so by commenting on a small anecdote that occurred between his father and Francisco Ponce. Both, after meeting for the first time to discuss the idea of ​​creating an association, which ultimately is AEFA, when they met they realized that they knew each other something.

The mystery was solved when Sunday arrived and the two went to the Mestalla stadium to watch Valencia CF’s league match. It just so happened that they were sitting next to each other.

So close in football and so far apart in business. But there was one thing that united them: SENTIMENT. The ‘ sentiment ‘ of Valencia CF and the ‘ sentiment ‘ that the companies in the agronutrients sector were more united and Associated to defend the common interests that they all had and continue to have.

After this anecdote, Francisco thanked all the people on the AEFA board who helped his father preside over the association from 1997 to 2003: Manuel Salguero Torres, Alberto Morera Lleó and Ricardo Villuendas Seguí.

The solution for one could be the solution for several

The moment of Alberto Morera Lleó, President of AEFA during the years 2003 to 2007, began by highlighting that it was a stage dense in milestones and rich in results, with everyone’s efforts. A meeting in which he was accompanied by Manuel Salguero, Ricardo Villuendas and Néstor Contell.

He recalled how, in those early days, the AEFA meetings were tense and timid, but little by little they became more and more lax and efficient. « We manufacturers only knew each other from seeing each other at fairs, from seeing our products and those of the ‘opposite’ in stores and cooperatives. But we hadn’t met very well in person. In a close way.»

«In the AEFA meetings we talked about problems that surprise! it was shown that they were common to all or almost all. It had been shown that the solution for one could be the solution for many. And that was efficiency.

In the 2003-2006 period, situations arose such as the common development of labeling texts in order to give the client more clarity and at the same time comply with the legislation; the raising of common concerns to the Ministry of Agriculture, initially so that it could know them first-hand and, above all, as a representative of the group of Associates; the search for possibilities of standardization of fortifying products, as a need of the market and desire of the manufacturers, collaborating with the Ministry… A stage, which as it has been advanced, was dense in milestones and rich in results, with the effort of all.

We went from seeing each other as enemies to sitting together and facing common problems

He was followed by Fernando Feliu Sendra as President of AEFA during the years 2007 to 2011, in which he had colleagues on his board of directors with great common sense and a desire to contribute to the association: Rafael Pinyol as vice president always contributing his critical vision, Ernesto Santaballa contributing common sense and Paco Soriano counterbalancing everyone.

Fernando Feliu wanted to remind Gonzalo Pérez who has established himself as AEFA’s secretary and external lawyer, and his deceased boss Pedro Nacher who was also involved in the creation of AEFA. And to Luis Roy, the first person hired by the Association and who stood out for being endearing and providing human value and support in all institutional relations.

As a nod to its historical period, it stands out as «in the 10 years that the Association had, we had gone from seeing each other as enemies to sitting together and facing common problems, from all that came a friendship that still endures between the founders today».

Like any stage, it also had to live through some difficult years, such as, for example, the financial crisis of 2008 that had just broken out, the ministerial order of phytofortifiers that had just entered into force, and the illusion that it produced at first turned into concern at verify that the registrations were not granted, the number of requests was increasing and only with an entry registration number the sale was allowed without any control that the product complied with the conditions of the order.

Perhaps, the most important achievement of the mandate of this board was the modification of the statutes to make the entry of any company that was a manufacturer and had its headquarters in Spain more flexible, which made it easier to go from 24 companies that we were to the 58 that we currently are and counting.

AEFA has played in the “Champion of Associations”

A special moment had Luis Victorino Martínez, president during the period 2019 to 2020 and who, due to a recent operation, could not attend physically, although he could by videoconference.

During his speech he declared that this Association has been a dream for him in this five-year period in which he has been able to live with it. As well as remembering actions carried out during his time as President such as the gesture of AEFA contributing, in the most virulent stage of the pandemic, to protect by donating one hundred thousand masks to fruit-picking workers in an action of generosity and transparency. with the Ministry of Agriculture, TRAGSA and Agrifood Cooperatives of Spain.

As well as the role that AEFA has played in the «Champion of Associations» of the agricultural sector together with AEPLA, ANFE, ACEFER, etc. participating in European decision-making hand in hand with EBIC and other Institutions.

Defending AEFA… defending the Agronutrition sector

Although it is true that Ricardo Villuendas Seguí was president of AEFA during the period from 2012 to 2018, it is no less true that he is the person who has always been part of the AEFA staff. His government team was made up of Francisco Miguel, Alberto Morera, Enrique Riquelme and Pedro Peleato.

Perhaps for this reason he is one of those who knows AEFA best. Six years as President, eleven as treasurer, three as secretary… more than 20 years, which as a humorous key usually says: AEFA is like one more member of your family.

Ricardo Villuendas states that “ I only have gratitude for all of us who have shared during this long time, meetings, trips, time… in which we have tried to fight against obstacles, against misunderstanding and sometimes against ourselves, recognizing that in some cases, We have not been right, we have been wrong… but above all, the spirit of self-improvement, improvement and adaptation has prevailed, to the point that during these 25 years the transformation of our companies in general has been truly spectacular… facilities, teams, markets, business figures… generating employment… and of quality ”. An effort that by defending AEFA… is defending the Agronutrition sector.

It is a satisfaction, to be able to observe how we have grown, in part, due to the new incorporations of companies, in which years ago, they were distant and distant and today we can say with satisfaction, that we have them among us.

But I would also like to introduce a reflection on a day like today, in which the successes that we celebrate cannot separate us from reality… from the situation that our companies are experiencing, from a new situation (general rise in prices, difficulties in supply of raw materials, freight, electricity, etc.), a situation that until now we had not faced and more so after two long years of pandemic, confinement and difficulties for the normal development of our work”, Ricardo continues.

But based on his fighting spirit, he also sent out the message that » we must take advantage of that participatory spirit (AefaTech, work commissions, etc.) and also, why not say it, of friendship and respect that we have enjoyed throughout the years? Throughout these 25 years, which again, I would like to continue invoking for the future of our Association, from the difficulty of merging this desire, with the tough competition of day to day on the street, but it is good to remember, that above all of interests should prevail people.”

Francisco Ponce Carrasco: Constitutional President and Honorary President

The emotional moments took place throughout the Gala and one of its exponents was the delivery of the plaque as Constitutional President and Honorary President to Francisco Ponce Carrasco.

The honor of holding these two positions encouraged him to value the need to group together, as an agronutrients association, as the only formula for success. He recalled the excellent reception of the idea by the 10 founding companies, most of them from the Valencian community, and how AEFA has had the wisdom to have the best possible president at all times to » Advance » the needs of the Association and the market. agriculture, in favor of agricultural production and its profitability.

Personally, I feel a strange and at the same time pleasant sensation of a job well done and, above all, the immense gratitude of being recognized and loved by that human environment that characterizes AEFA. Thanks to each and every one of the companies that make up AEFA today, their teams, men and women, who will continue to advance and increase the values ​​and usefulness of the Association. Long live agriculture and AEFA! Francisco Ponce concluded.

The fertilizer show

The Gala of the 25th Anniversary of AEFA, had to liven up a large part of it, with a play written and directed for the occasion by Alicia Gracia Lerín, starring the TEATROCHO Theater Company.

A risky play that interacted with the attendees and represented different sketches around fertilizers with a nod to AEFA.

A cocktail much more than a few drinks

After the so-called gala act, everyone went to the garden terrace of the Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía, where the cocktail was served. Moment that revealed the desire to be together again.

A toast to the industry

At the end of the dinner, Juan Pardos encouraged those present to make a toast to the sector, to many more years of AEFA and, above all, because the harmony between all people and their human quality continue to be the best asset of the Agro sector..

Pichín, “ a very talkative tomato

To end the commemorative act, a gift was made to all those attending the Gala of the latest book by Francisco Ponce, Honorary President of AEFA, entitled «Pichín Aventuras». A character created by Francisco who narrates «the adventures of a tomato (Pichín)» in which for many years he had his section in the Terralia magazine and which, in humor and irony, recreated more or less everyday situations in the agricultural sector under the unique view of this character: “Pichín, the talking tomato”.

This does not end here, 25 years seems like a long time, but this path has only just begun. From the seed that constituted AEFA, everything that it is is due to the effort and essence of each and every one of the workers that make up each of the companies, which is why, from this moment, a powerful future can be glimpsed.

The effort and impetus of AEFA means that this important figure has been achieved, and surely many more will follow, and it will be a sign that everything has gone really well, because it is what is expected of this great working group. It is nice to be able to celebrate the emotion of seeing these years of effort, hard work, illusions and hopes materialized in this 25th Anniversary.

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