♦ How was Timorex Gold® conceived and brought into the Chinese market?
♦ How can farmers be convinced about the costly bio-pesticide?
♦ How can existing resources be utilized to jointly foster China’s green agriculture?
June 2017, STK held a press conference in Hangzhou to announce that their flagship product, Timorex Gold® was launched in China, for the control of fungal and bacterial plant diseases. Following the registration approval of Timorex Gold® by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, STK began its devoted publicity campaign for the promotion of the product in the Chinese market.
During the launch, STK China together with Chongqing Shurong Crop Science Ltd., presented their Timorex Gold® experiences and field results to growers, expert representatives, sales and marketing channels and consumers alike, who were all eager to learn about the benefits of Timorex Gold®. They explained how this biofungicide can enhance crop quality and its utmost important role it plays as a plant growth regulator, such as fruit size, taste, texture, shape, color, firmness and shelf life. The audience all understood the importance of having access to a product that meets all food safety regulations and allows them to tackle the plant disease, even during the harvest period without risking the presence of pesticide residues.
Timorex Gold® is registered and sold in over 30 nations worldwide, holding 30 registrations throughout the United States, achieving high performance in disease control crop protection, now in China. Timorex Gold® is a non-toxic solution. No harmful residues remain to delay handling or consumption. The product has performed very well in various high-value crops worldwide, enabling it to become a top global bio-pesticide leader.
On the occasion of the entry of Timorex Gold® into China, AgroPages, the global agrochemical media partner, held a dialogue with Xue Zhanqiang, Director and Commercial Manager of Stockton (STK) China, regarding the business plans for Timorex Gold® in China’s market and the intended strategic investment to be introduced from Hebang.
Xue Zhanqiang, Director and Commercial Manager of Stockton (STK) China foresees great potential for its Timorex Gold® biofungicide in the Chinese market.
How was Timorex Gold® conceived and brought into the Chinese market?
When speaking about the conception and progress of Timorex Gold® in China, and the presence of STK in the Chinese market, Zhanqiang said he must refer to the founder of STK—Peter Tirosh—with whom a profound friendship has been forged.
Xue Zhanqiang (left) and Peter Tirosh (right)
An emotional Zhanqiang recalled that it was Tirosh’s absolute sincerity and business talent that had attracted him. The two had stayed in close touch for many years, although there were no business dealings between the two. Tirosh has a deep love for agriculture and strong feelings for farmers, having dedicated all his time to cropland.
In 2002, a former friend of Tirosh in Latin America died of cancer, which moved Tirosh deeply. Around that time, a research institute approached him for the development of a pure plant extracted bio-pesticide. With this background, Tirosh undertook the development of the bio-pesticide, which was the beginning of Timorex Gold®.
The bio-pesticide market’s development takes longer than chemical, and is also costs more. Zhanqiang disclosed that from the very beginning and till date, the investment made by STK in Timorex Gold® is about several millions on average every year. To develop and promote Timorex Gold®, Tirosh contributed millions from his personal lifetime retirement pension, and set up a top-level professional team to take up work positions in research, registration, promotion and sales. It is a company rule that each new employee has to work with farmers in crop fields for three years before officially taking up market promotion jobs. Through all these down-to-earth practices, Timorex Gold® has begun to yield good results.
STK conducted field trial in various crops globally (bananas tobacco, coffee, rice, fruit tree grape and berries)
With successful application experiences in Latin America, STK is becoming more confident about the future of Timorex Gold®. The business focus of the company is gradually changing from chemical pesticide to the product Timorex Gold®. In 2015, STK decided to introduce strategic investors, who have a good understanding of the industry and would share the same view of development and future prospects of the industry.
The signing ceremony of Hebang and STK
In December 2016, registration for Timorex Gold® was approved by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. To this end, Timorex Gold® has been registered in the prime agriculture market of three major countries—United States, Brazil and China. With the product being promoted and grown in these three countries, Timorex Gold® has moved onto fast-track development.
How can farmers be convinced about the costly bio-pesticide?
To approach the bio-pesticide market takes much more effort than approaching the conventional chemical pesticide market, which is reflected not only in product registration and technical marketing, but also in the farmer’s lack of product awareness and acknowledgement of product. As the cost of bio-pesticide is on a higher side, the most difficult thing is to convince end users to think it worse to pay for the costly bio-pesticide. Zhanqiang told AgroPages, with a sense of pride that, “Our promotion experiences show that only dealers have doubts, for the reason of profitability, whilst the vast majority of farmers would not refuse Timorex Gold® after the trial use of such a good product.”
Speaking of why farmers are willing to pay for it, Zhanqiang said he believes that not only should the control efficacy of bio-pesticide be exhibited for farmers, but emphasis should also be laid on the high quality farm products and earnings eventually brought to farmers. Zhanqiang further said, “Pesticide applications are not our goal; the goal is to provide farmers with a means to produce good food for people. Timorex Gold® is promoted for the purpose of producing high quality farm products, which are placed on the shelf and are paid at higher prices willingly by consumers. In this way, farmers can earn more money. Then we achieve our goal.”
Since its presence in the Chinese market, STK has built a bio-pesticide promotion team to establish a complete set of crop trial program. STK had obtained first-hand field data, covering various fruits, including tomato, strawberry, banana, kiwi, grape and cherry. STK is also the first in China to obtain the tea field data for Timorex Gold® What is different from chemical pesticides is that the field data for Timorex Gold® is not just a simple efficacy test; the field data of Timorex Gold® not only includes fruit size and yield, but also covers the time to market, sugar content and appearance of fruit. These indicators, when presented visually, add value of the fruit to farmers, which really helps farmers earn more money. From this perspective, the use of costly bio-pesticides appears logical.
Timorex Gold® has been so far registered for application on tomato and strawberry. Taking strawberry as an example, besides the control of strawberry powdery mildew, Timorex Gold® can enhance strawberry quality, such as enhancement of sugar content and reduction of pesticide residues. Meanwhile, it brings flowering and fruiting forward, thus enabling the delivery of the fruit to the market earlier. “The function of v is reflected in a large variety of crops, as the ingredients for Timorex Gold® originated from tea tree oil. It is something like this—one kind of crop is helping the other kind of crop,” said Zhanqiang.
At present, the whole world, including China is paying attention like never before to the safety of agricultural products and raising environmental concerns brought forth by farming practices. Green organic agriculture and sustainable crop production are being promoted in both developing and developed countries. In China, the new regulations on Pesticide Administration have substantially covered bio-pesticides. Also the “zero-growth of use of pesticide and fertilizer” program has been implemented for two years in China. These measures provide a legal basis and policy support to the development of the bio-pesticide industry.
Apart from the registration of the two kinds of crops, STK plans to extend registration of Timorex Gold® to at least two kinds of crops each year in the future. “The path of development of bio-pesticides is difficult, but a bright future lies ahead. There is no shortcut to bio-pesticide promotions. Trials and demonstrations are the best persuader. As long as we are on the right track, we are not afraid of being slow,” stated Zhanqiang.
STK established Kiwi management demonstration orchard
How should existing resources be utilized to jointly foster China’s green agriculture?
Timorex Gold® is distributed via non-exclusive agency sales in cooperation with Chongqing Shurong CropScience. Zhanqiang appreciated the form of cooperation, saying that “Timorex Gold® is a perfect product while nowadays distributors are becoming more conscious of green agriculture and organic products. STK has established its sales network and in the years ahead Timorex Gold® will be sure to play an “upward curve” in the Chinese market. Therefore, the agency’s sales for the product need to be open. We welcome all interested agencies of strength to join us.”
Continued trials and demonstrations are something that has to be carried out for any bio-pesticide to access the Chinese market. For this reason, STK is continually expanding its technical marketing team, which will quickly obtain first-hand information and establish demonstration parks so as to pass all information and data effectively to retailers and farmers.
In the meantime, Zhanqiang hopes that the existing bio-pesticide channel of STK can be utilized to accommodate more resources, which will bring added value to the channel. Also STK wishes to help more outstanding bio-pesticide products to get into the Chinese market to jointly foster China’s green agriculture.
“Over the past two years the Chinese government has been providing a lot more support and subsidy to encourage farmers to use sustainable biological products and solutions. Our partners can help us understand the local market – its complexities and challenges – and to capitalize on these opportunities. I foresee a great potential for Timorex Gold® in the Chinese market.” concluded Zhanqiang.