Working together for a more efficient industry
Paul Savage tell Chris Lyddon how he sees the future of the input sector
The whole farming industry has become more professional in recent years. For Paul Savage, newly appointed Country Manager for the UK and Ireland with United Phosphorous, it’s a welcome change.
“Since I started in the early 80s I think the precision of agricultural advice and the quality of advice from agronomists in the field has improved,” he told Chris Lyddon. “BASIS and the distributors and the independent agronomists have played a key role in moving agriculture forward, with everything considered, before farmers are advised.”
“The quality of the products, in terms of the hoop that they are made to go through before registration and the quality of manufacture, is much higher than in those 1980s,” he said. At the same time, prices have come down in real terms. “If you look at it, the pricing of the products are cheaper now, relatively, than they were then. They have not only had their efficiency improved, but the price has dropped, relatively.”
He is a particular fan of the BASIS scheme. “The fact that people have to have so many points, to keep their professional register in terms of training, has been really good for the industry generally,” he said. “You get an idea of how far we have come from the fact that farmers devolve responsibility for the recommendation of their inputs to somebody else. That is great credit to the professionalism of the agronomists that are out there.”
Paul, who left a role as northern European manager with ROTAM to move to United Phosphorous, is handling a large portfolio of products. United Phosphorus is a leading producer of crop protection products, speciality chemicals and other industrial chemicals. It operates on every continent, and with offices in 23 countries, United Phosphorus Limited is one of the leading producers of post-patent products in the world. In the UK, the company has a comprehensive list of products which, thanks to an extensive development pipeline, is set to grow over the coming years.
“It is my role to maximise the potential of the products that we have and look at moving the business from a trading relationship with customers to a more strategic long-term relationship where we develop products together jointly,” he said. “The market has changed. We have seen a reduction in the number of distributors in the market which will bring its own challenges.”
Now United Phosphorous is dealing with some of the biggest distributors in the country, organisations like Agrovista, Agrii, ProCam, Frontier. He’s looking forward to doing more joint work with them. “We work with distribution to produce products for the market rather than for us to come up with ideas ourselves and take them to market and say “we’ve got this I you interested?”,” he said. “Registrations are becoming more difficult, more costly, and therefore to have an end market in mind that is well researched is key to product launches.”
He plans to open lines of communication to as many people in the industry as he can. “The more people who you ask, the more open your mind is, the more chance that you are going to produce something that is right and is going to be successful,” he said.
Paul’s also got exciting plans outside work for later on this year. “I’m looking forward to volunteering in the Olympics which I think will be great for the country as well,” he said. “It looks like I’ll have a role, based at the Olympic Park in Stratford, looking after Olympic Committee members.”
He believes the games will do a lot of Britain’s international reputation. “It’s a showpiece for the country really,” he said. He also believes that Britain can rise to the challenge. “That’s one thing that we do really well, this type of organisation,” he said. “I just hope there are no swimmers who want to stop rowing races.”