#Agricolus success cases: Philip Morris Italy and the commitment for sustainability
Interview to Agnese Belloni, Agronomy Specialist at Philip Morris Italy
Philip Morris Italy, headquartered in Rome, is responsible for the commercialization of Philip Morris International brands in the country. We are the leading company in the processed tobacco market in Italy, with a product portfolio that includes the most important international brands.
Philip Morris Italy today is focusing on the commercialization of innovative products without combustion, including electronic devices and accessories.
Together with Philip Morris Manufacturing & Technology Bologna (PMMTB) – the global center of excellence for personnel training and large-scale prototyping and production of tobacco products without combustion – Philip Morris Italia employs over 2,500 people in the country.
The Group also supports the national tobacco supply chain, regularly renewing multi-year supply agreements with Italian farmers. Through a purchasing office located in Bastia Umbra (Perugia) is responsible for the direct supply of tobacco grown in our territory, for a value of about 2 billion Euro since 2000, which involved mainly the agricultural supply chains of Veneto, Campania and Umbria, with a strong share of export of tobacco purchased in Italy.
Why did you choose Agricolus? What were your needs?
According to our sustainability goals, we define in Italy concrete projects with a particular focus in the tobacco regions (Veneto, Umbria and Campania).
Our business depends mainly on the quality of the raw materials we use for our products. From this point of view, the tobacco chain is undoubtedly one of the key figures in the pursuit of our economic, environmental and social objectives.
Philip Morris Italy invests more than 100 million euros per year in the purchase of tobacco, mainly of the Flue Cured Virginia and Burley types, and in related services, including agronomic consulting services, purchase, processing and shipping of raw and processed tobacco.
Our main focus is on promoting the production of high-quality tobacco, grown in conditions that protect the environment and allow for sustainable yields. Forecast models of Agricolus platform help us to promote an integrated crop management aimed at reducing and optimizing the use of pesticides.
We are raising awareness among farmers towards a more responsible use of chemicals and Agricolus is part of this vision.
How has the Agricolus platform met your needs?
Agricolus has helped us to develop a tool that can support farmers in the important choice of how to protect their crops from any phytosanitary attacks and how to constantly monitor the status in the field through crop scouting.
The most used features are the reception of alerts/field bulletins and the consultation of weather data.
This innovative tool has allowed us to implement alternative solutions to mitigate the potential environmental impact of pesticide use. Farmers are very interested in receiving field reports that give them a broader view of the phytosanitary status of their crop.
Agricolus represents an important tool for decision support, based on forecast models, which interprets the interaction between the basic elements of the system climate-plant-pathogen, without disregarding the human input. These models integrate the information necessary to recommend the most appropriate actions in response to different crop needs, whether strategic (long-term) or tactical (short-term), identifying the factors that affect the quantitative and qualitative yield of the final product.
It uses a simple language that returns fast information. The farmer, when consulting the models, is able to access information that remains the same during the crop cycle (cultivar, soil characteristics, etc.), which in turn interact with variable information during the cycle (weather data, crop status, etc.).
In other words, the system supports the farmer in making choices based on the real needs of the crops (variable data) in relation to the surrounding environment (constant data), in order to reduce the use of resources.