Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) announced that it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Great Harvest Agri Chemicals Corporation (GHAC), a leading supplier of agricultural inputs in the Philippines.
GHAC plans to register and commercialize MBI’s REGALIA® biofungicide in the Philippines. Regalia stimulates a plant’s innate ability to fight diseases while delivering better yield and improved harvest quality. Local trials have shown Regalia’s benefits in combatting the ever-present black sigatoka disease in bananas, with comparable performance to the leading chemical pesticide. The Philippines has 60,000 hectares in banana production, and treatments to control this yield-robbing disease are applied 52-60 times per year. In 2016, 1.73 metric tons of the fruit were exported, valued at $730 million U.S. dollars (USD).1
MBI’s broad spectrum bio-insecticide, VENERATE®, will also be submitted for registration and commercialized by GHAC in the Philippines. Local trials have shown Venerate to provide control of banana thrips (Frankinella occidentalis) in equal or better measure to the standard synthetic chemicals used. Joacanima is also coordinating banana trials with Venerate and GRANDEVO® for scale insects, as well as Majestene trials for control of root destroying nematodes. Testing is also planned for hoppers and Cecid fly in mangoes. Cecid fly has been difficult to manage with chemical controls and as a result, mango hectares in the Philippines are on the decline. Trials on vegetables showed that Grandevo and Venerate controlled diamondback moth as well as the chemical standard.
In the Philippines, 30 million hectares, or 47% of the land, is dedicated to agriculture. Major crops include rice, mangoes, vegetables, bananas and pineapples. MBI’s portfolio of effective biopesticide products are exempt from food residue tolerances, offering all growers the required residue management benefits for exported crops. Besides the major exportation of bananas, other key Philippine exports slated for these product labels are fresh pineapples (599,000 metric tons valued at $240 million USD) and mangoes (15,000 metric tons valued at $13 million USD)1.
Dr. Pam Marrone, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MBI, commented, “Our relationship with Great Harvest is strong and the company is a proven champion of biotechnologies in the Philippines. We are proud to partner with them to bring our effective, bio-based solutions to the region’s growers.”
1 Source: Philippines Statistics Authority