Feb. 24, 2020


Carlos Velásquez

Colombia

Carlos Velásquez

Chairman, FCM Global

“In the supply of cannabis extracts, we define quality as the consistency of the supply of a product with the specifications expected by the client.”

BIO

Carlos Velásquez is a Colombian-born investment professional and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the development of physical and social infrastructure in Latin America and Europe across the healthcare, agriculture, renewable energy, and real estate sectors. Prior to co-founding FCM Global, Velásquez served as a board member for several companies and previously as co-founder of both Fondo AAA and Leaf Air Renewable Energy Group. He began his career at Grupo Argos as a Program Director.


What have been the factors for FCM Global to become one of the leading companies in Colombia?

We are a multinational company. In the beginning, we started to set up companies in North America and Europe for the transfer of know-how and to understand how the industry is evolving worldwide. Most of our clients are in Europe, which is a more mature market and has regulations that are clearer; however, as the framework in Colombia evolves, no other jurisdiction in the world has the same comparative advantages, especially now that the regulators are bringing in a sophisticated framework. Colombia, with the completion and implementation of the regulatory framework, is becoming the catalyst for all the synergies of the global market, being the center of cultivation and production, both raw material and final products.

Being one of the pioneers in Colombia, how has this helped to implement FCM Global's vision of its “cosourced” model with almost 500ha at its disposal?

The learning curve has been fairly significant, with changes and constant developments in regulation and advances in science and technology around the world. We focus on innovating and achieving efficiencies at all levels in the company, from the objectives of our customers, which is what our “co-sourced” model is all about, thus, developing these areas in stages. In the two natural sub regions, Antioquia and Natagaima, where we have our licenses and registered cultivars, we cover approximately 60% of the climatic conditions in the country. Our best genetics micropropagate in-house for future growth, and a sample from this source is developed for final products using nanotechnology.

What have been the most important technological advances in FCM?

Innovation has been one of our pillars. We are extremely proud of the team we have. As a consequence, we are finalizing our processes of in-vitro propagation and production of nano-emulsions both in micelles with areas related to water and oil, which will allow us to standardize processes and quality while becoming more efficient and pioneering in terms of R&D, which will mean great advantages to our clients. With new technologies, we can create customized material for specific metabolites to create new products.

Where do you see the relationship between production in Colombia with distributors and end customers around the world?

Two things are extremely important here: consistent quality and transparency. If we can demonstrate to our customers a clear discipline in genetics and consistency from seed and propagation to the oil and the final product, then we will truly have an instrument to work in the market. Without these, it will be difficult to get there. On the other hand, our partnership with local universities drives innovation and quality are key, as we are working on transferring know-how from universities like Israel, Canada, and Europe. With an R&D base in the hands of local universities and acting as an association and not as independent companies, we can create an industry with high added value, starting with innovation—processes, products, and regulation—and creating clinical evidence, continuing with a supply of both extracts and finished products that are tied to the genetics we have in Colombia and distributing them around the world with credible players and long-term vision. Obviously, this must be accompanied by rigorous processes and traceability and transparency systems.

What is your perspective on how the industry will continue to evolve in Colombia?

We are positive about the direction the industry is moving in; Colombia is on the right path. It has been a long journey, but now Colombia will be positioned as a production hub for the world. Even as other Latin American countries open legal frameworks, it will mostly be for imports of final products. Colombia will set the standard and be a platform for Latin America to create a new market.

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