interview to BPG President.

Nicolás Cock Duque

President, BioProtection Global

What do you expect from the increased use of bioprotection for global agriculture in the coming years?

In the years to come we expect very exciting and positive, but challenging times for the expansion of the global bioprotection industry. In order to supply a safe, sustainable food supply for 9 billion people in 2050, we will need to see a significant rise in adoption and growth rates, particularly given climate change challenges and the planetary limits we’re facing. As true Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is implemented around the world, new and better bio-based solutions will continue to be delivered by this vital and thriving industry. In great part, our growth is driven by more conscious consumers and regulations demanding safer food, which can be produced with readily available, low impact, and low carbon footprint bio-based solutions for sustainable crop protection.

Considering a world-wide growth consumption of biopesticides, how much do you believe it may grow?

Different sources suggest that at the end of 2019 the global bioprotection, biocontrol and biopesticides market will surpass annual sales of US 4 billion. Despite the fast growth, with past and projected 5 yr. CAGRs ranging from 15 to 18%, bio-based solutions’ share amongst the global crop protection market will range from 5 to 6%. This means it is still an industry that is more than 15 times smaller than the conventional pesticides industry. These figures suggest that with the food and arable land that will be required during the decades and challenges to come, there are very important opportunities for both to grow, ideally under a more balanced and truly integrated approach.

In which cultures do you expect to see more expansion in the adoption of bioprotection?

The expansion of the adoption of bioprotection solutions will continue taking place in a variety of crops around the world, driven by the need for safer food and more sustainable agricultural goods. Pesticide residues in fresh produce, resistance management in multiple crops, pollinator safety, lack of, or more limited availability of, chemical pesticide solutions (due to the hundreds of active ingredients being banned and restricted internationally), amongst other drivers will continue motivating farmers to move towards decarbonizing farming and towards the implementation of integrated bioprotection solutions to handle phytosanitary problems.

What should be the weight of Brazil and Latin America in this growth?

Latin America as a whole, and Brazil in particular, have key roles to play, both as global food pantries and as developers and suppliers of bioprotection technologies. This part of the world, together with sub-Saharan Africa, are the two regions of the globe with the largest potential for arable lands to be utilized or restored with the help of regenerative farming and bio-based solutions. Brazil and Latin America are particularly privileged in terms of water availability and biodiversity, thus have the global responsibility of achieving the right balance of ecosystems conservation and restoration together with sustainable farming. This is compounded by the fact that their regions will be some of the most severely affected by results of climate change including flooding, droughts, new pests, etc.

What obstacles do you see to the greatest growth of bioprotection in the world?

There are several obstacles that affect bioprotection´s growth, and these are mostly related to regulations, public policy, technical training, and awareness. The lack of proportionate or specific regulations for these types of products in many countries around the world is perhaps one of the most critical bottlenecks and therefore one of the key priorities that BioProtection Global (BPG) is willing to target. We are hoping to contribute to the solution through specific actions that would enhance more proportionate regulations with the help and contribution of our member associations, which represent more than 750 companies in 56 countries around the globe.

How do you analyze the future coexistence between conventional pesticides and bioprotection?

At BPG we believe that bioprotection solutions and conventional pesticides should not be considered mutually exclusive tools. On the contrary, both are part of the solution and are necessary, complementary, and synergistic means of achieving true IPM and sustainable agriculture in order to guarantee safe food for all in a climatically and biologically balanced planet.

What is your position on a global harmonization of regulatory standards on the bioprotection segment?

Harmonization is still a work in process after decades of effort put forth by interdisciplinary entities, governmental agencies, and the industry. We believe that one main goal should be the acceptance of crops treated with bioprotection products in international trade without quantitative restrictions (analytical methodology to determine presence), much like organic commodities are mutually recognized via international agreements. We believe that an exemption from tolerance or MRLs does not mean “no residues,” it should mean no residues of toxicological concern.

What is your expectation regarding the Biocontrol Latam 2019 in Brazil?

We expect Biocontrol Latam 2019 to be the most relevant bioprotection regional event and meeting of the year. After two very successful meetings in Campinas in 2017 and in Medellin, Colombia in 2018, Biocontrol Latam has evolved into the event that all stakeholders of the bioprotection industry should attend including distributors, growers, regulators, researchers, students, and the food-chain in general. This is an ideal event to learn, network, and to obtain comprehensive updates on the industry.

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Ecoflora Agro SAS

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