Dec. 8, 2015
Koppert's principal place of business is active from 1967 and located in the Netherlands. Koppert provide an integrated system of specialist cultivation knowledge and natural, safe solutions including biostimulant, biological crop protection, natural pollination with bumblebees and flies, resilient cultivation, pest and disease monitoring, consultancy and training, research and development, application devices for distribution of biologicals that increase crop health, resilience and production in over 60 countries around the world. Mr. Bram Koppert, Asia Pacific manager of Koppert Biological Systems, recently took an interview with AgroPages and shared with us his views on the global biostimulants market.
Q1: Could you introduce your competitive technologies and products to us?
A: In October 2015, Koppert Biological Systems launched Panoramix, its first biostimulant seed treatment product. Panoramix combines our long tradition of partnership with nature and the efficiency in application that is required to make biological solutions competitive with traditional agricultural inputs.
Every crop has a very unique set of requirements which can only be met by tailor-made solutions. That’s why we offer Panoramix in two different formulations: Panoramix Wheat and Panoramix Corn. In the future, the range of target crops will be expanded to include further row crops and vegetables – each with a formulation specifically designed to meet the requirements of those crops. Later versions of the product will also be designed according to environmental conditions in their target countries by applying microbial strains which are adapted to local conditions.
We believe that seed treatments represent the perfect mode of application for biologicals, because they deliver specific dose of our selected microbes, nutrients and other proprietary ingredients to each individual plant and make them available even before emergence.
Q2: Could you briefly introduce your marketing strategies and activities in China or other markets?
A: Since their start in 2008 Koppert introduced several biological products in the Chinese market already. Bumble bees special for natural pollination is one of the most important system that help Chinese growers to increase the yield of the crops significantly. Also the Trichoderma based product Trianum has seen a successful introduction in China for protection of the roots and growth stimulation.
The current versions of Panoramix are designed as an on-farm seed treatment. They are ready-to-use formulations which can be mixed with the seed up to one month prior to sowing.
In future versions of Panoramix, we are going to improve the planting window – the maximum time between treatment and sowing – to also cover the industrial seed treatment market, which needs a longer planting window, due to logistical considerations. Through this expansion of the possible distribution channels we aim to increase the number of growers that can benefit from our developments and create a global impact on efficiency of agricultural production.
Q3: How do you think of the current development of the global biostimulants industry?
A: In the past we have observed a lot of biological products on the market which did not keep up with their promises. This has damaged the public perception of the whole product class of biostimulants and made growers very skeptical. Another obstructive influence came from the strong focus on prevention of pest and disease in industrial agriculture, which ignored the yield potential that is lost due to abiotic factors.
Right now we can observe a shift in both of these areas: Ineffective biological products get pushed out of the market as growers gain experience and start exchanging knowledge on ineffective products. At the same time, we see farmers push the yield potential of their crops to ever higher levels. In this race for the highest yield, innovative growers are testing different kinds of biostimulant products.
A factor that is causing some headache is the growing diversity in modes of action among biostimulants. Although this development offers great opportunities, it also makes customers confused that what kinds of products or active ingredients can bring real value for the crops.
Koppert biostimulant products contain only active ingredients which have a proven efficacy. Due to this scientific approach and our advanced formulations, Koppert biostimulant products deliver a consistent and reliable yield increase.
Q4: What do you think are the favorable and unfavorable factors for the development of global biostimulant industry in the future?
A: The global biostimulants market will strongly benefit from the projected rise in demand for food and feed that is linked to general population growth in the coming decades. In a time of growing demand for agricultural produce and simultaneous tendencies to decrease the size of agricultural land, the efficiency of production on the remaining area needs to be improved. Biostimulants will play a key role in this process.
Koppert, as well as other companies in this sector, will only be able to aid this development effectively, if regulators establish rules for this market which reflect the low risks that biological solutions pose compared to conventional (chemical) alternatives.
It is without question that the use of biostimulants will become the norm in modern agriculture as farmers will lose competitiveness without their application.