May. 21, 2019
By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
Xavier Leprince, who is responsible for Sustainability at Syngenta, announced that it will accelerate the company's innovation process. The goal, according to Leprince, is to evolve products to protect plants produced from conventional chemical molecules to meet the new parameters of sustainable agriculture: soil conservation, the ability to combat resistance, and the effectiveness and cost per hectare, among other things.
"Innovation must respond to Society's new demands and ensure that farmers can buy these products in healthy economic conditions. Syngenta's innovation will also develop increasingly sought-after organic products and Precision Agriculture, which helps to apply products only to exact locations of agricultural fields, at the most appropriate time and at lower doses. We will continue to work to further reduce waste levels in agricultural crops and the environment. This is Syngenta's response to Society's expectations, after hearing from some 150 entities about how the plant protection industry should evolve, in terms of innovation," he said.
Leprince noted that this consultation revealed that consumers want solutions that respect the environment. In addition, they want to know whether farmers apply plant protection products according to safety rules and are concerned about the issue of agrochemical residues in food.
In Southern Europe - the continent where there is more resistance from the public to the use of plant protection products - Syngenta says it will offer integrated solutions to protect agricultural crops. That means, Leprince says, combining conventional fungicides with biological treatments, which allows reductions of waste in food.
"In the short term, we will launch new molecules in Europe to control Botrytis cinerea, a disease typical of southern European vineyards. These new solutions, which are practically unique per campaign, are alternated with organic products, thus reducing residues in grapes, especially when the treatment is applied during the maturation phase of the fruit, "Leprince said.
In his view, the future of plant protection will be based upon four key aspects: traditional molecules with associated innovation; products of biological origin; precision agriculture and seeds with resistance / tolerance to pests and diseases.
"Food has never been as safe as it is today, but there are new demands, and diets are increasingly differentiated, such as vegan. Our responsibility, as a sector, is to seek a balanced way to feed the world population, while preserving natural resources. I think we are seeing a new way of eating, more responsible for consumers, and farmers will have to know how to respond," he added.