Knorr incorporates a agricultural strategy in line with regenerative agriculture for their crops in the province of Mendoza. This implementation will have a positive impact not only on the production of its vegetablesbut also in the communities of the area, soil health, biodiversity, water quality, climate resilience and agricultural profitability.
Among the principles of regenerative agriculture is the action of caring for the soil, protecting the diversity of pre-existing microorganisms on the surface.. It presents itself as a evolution of sustainable agriculture and, in the case of Knorr, for a year they have been incorporating this planting methodology within the framework of an articulation with INTA that involves the vegetables used for all the brand’s products.
He National Institute of Agricultural Technology has been working with Unilever for more than 30 years analyzing cultivation practices and advising from a technological and sustainable innovation perspective. A year ago they jointly began the transfer from sustainable agriculture to regenerative agriculture.
“They called us to accompany this process of regenerative agriculture, which Its objective is that the suppliers of vegetables that supply the dehydration plant apply them. I always say that regenerative agriculture is a philosophy: is try to imitate the processes that nature has to remedy and to regenerate the processes of agricultural practices”, commented Claudio Galmarini, from the Mendoza – San Juan Regional Center of INTA about the alliance with Unilever and the path they follow for the evolution in the elaboration of the products of Knorr.
People: How do you go from sustainable agriculture to regenerative agriculture?
Claudio Galmarini: What has been done this year is survey and diagnose the practices that are usually used to plant the vegetables that supply the factory. Once these practices are surveyed, a diagnosis is made and, together with the producers, we suggest changes to those practices that are framed in regenerative agriculture. Testing is done on a fraction of the properties and when we are all convinced, these practices are extended to the entire production. It is part of a learning process.
“Knorr began working with INTA in a public-private articulation program for more than 20 years. That’s great because It is Argentine science, because it means taking the challenge seriously and because if we want to apply regenerative agriculture guides, we must do it hand in hand with those who know the most.. In this sense, we are very focused on public articulation and working hand in hand with our farmers,” he added. María Bulla, Corporate Responsibility and Social Impact Manager of Unileverin dialogue with People.
Dehydrated products and regenerative agriculture
In the Unilever Mendoza Plant – the company’s only dehydrator in the world and the largest in Argentina – the process of elaboration of the Knorr dehydrated products recently launched on the market and are designed with a focus on healthy eating without additives and that contributes to the preservation of the environment through vegetables obtained through regenerative processes.
Ana Hernández Hermida, Brand Manager of Knorr Argentinaexplain what Knorr is a brand present in 80% of Argentine homes and that, therefore, has a high commitment linked to the nutritional factor and the raw material with which the firm’s products are made.
“That also implies that care of the ingredients. We have been working with our farmers for 10 years and, this year, We are migrating from sustainable agriculture to regenerative agriculture, which implies not only taking care of our soils and minimizing the impact that crops have on the soil, the climate, biodiversity and water, but also generating a positive impact on all these elements to return to the earth all that it gives us when we cultivate it”, he points out.
People: Why did you decide to involve local producers in the agricultural chain?
Ana Hernandez: Mendoza actively works with more than 400 families. What we are looking for is to work with partners that help us develop long-term plans in thinking, in structure, in strategy. And that is why working with local farmers allows us to think and develop in the long term to optimize crops and develop practices such as regenerative agriculture, which are jobs that we have to do over time.
How is the dehydration process of the Mendoza Plant
Mendoza Plant receives the vegetables harvested from 10 farms with which Unilever works in the Mendoza, Córdoba and San Juan area. Among the steps that make up the elaboration process is the selection of vegetables, washing, dicing, dehydration, packaging and final review to rule out any possible presence of inedible particles.
“The dehydration process that we have today consists of different stages. In principle, we receive the vegetables directly from the farmers with whom we work. Once those vegetables are controlled, they are received and unloaded here, when they are okay They go through dehydration processes. We have stages of washing, peeling, and splitting. Then we continue with a manual selection stage to remove foreign materials. Subsequently, we continue with dicing and mincing and with a primary dehydration phase to continue with the final stage and finish adjusting the humidity to package the product.”, commented Ramiro Cabrera, Mendoza Plant Manager.
In addition to the environmental initiative, the project of Knorr It has solidarity links with various NGOs and the Fundación Sí, in which Unilever collaborates by supporting the university residence they have in Guaymallén.
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