Produtiva Aeroagrícola is an aerial application company located in São Joaquim da Barra, in the northern part of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, the largest ethanol and sugar producer in the world. Incorporated 10 years ago by Marino de Andrade Neto, an agricultural pilot since 1991, the company has a fleet of six aircraft: three Ipanemas 202A, one Cessna Agtruck, one AirTractor 402A, and one Thrush 510G.
Marino started to work in firefighting with his turbo planes, mainly in the sugarcane plantation, operating conventional gate boxes. He told us a little about the evolution of his work:
“We are working on developing the market to add aerial firefighting to our agricultural operations, as we realized that there could be demand for this consolidation of our existing ag customers. We also publicize firefighting activity extensively, directly to customers, as well as on social media.
We serve individual rural producers, producer associations, sugarcane mills, and municipalities. We have not yet implemented daily shifts or with a minimum of hours of availability, but we are trying to make customers aware of this need. For now, we are working on-demand.”
One of the services provided last year in the region of Morro Agudo (30 km from its base), where the company was hired for two days by the local farmers’ union. In addition to rural producers, the operation had the support of agribusiness companies in the region, the fire department, and the municipal and state civil defense. As there were areas that were difficult to access, the aircraft’s work was critical to the operation’s success.
In 2021, Marino installed his first fire gate on his Thrush 510G. The aircraft was the second Thrush in the country to have the hydraulic equipment of a Brazilian manufacturer installed. The company helped Zanoni develop the technology:
“Sergio and Lucas Zanoni stayed here for two days, making the necessary adjustments to install the gate on our aircraft. It was a new development and it is serving us well. In addition to greatly improving the discharge over a common gate box, the equipment stays on the aircraft for spraying work. This is a fundamental element for aerial application companies, as we work almost all year round also with agricultural operations”.
Like other operators in the region, Produtiva was encouraged to work with firefighting in the sugarcane sector. Farmers and mills are starting to invest in hiring this type of service to protect their assets – it’s a win-win with the aircraft able to protect with spray applications and fire suppression. The result has been not only the reduction of financial losses but gains for society as a whole. In addition to reducing the emission of polluting gases in the production of these commodities, agricultural aircraft also started to help fight fires in forest reserves (private and public), becoming a fundamental tool for natural defense and sustainable agriculture.
“Let there be no fires, but if there are, we will do our best to contribute to the fight and thereby minimize losses.” The company’s motto is a great representation of what the agricultural aviation sector has been doing in Brazil.