Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (TSXV: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF) announced on Wednesday it has completed three official registration trials of the Company’s proprietary Clonostachys rosea CR-7 (CR-7) biological fungicide on commercial strawberry and tomato crops in Mexico. BVT worked with a Mexican government approved researcher to conduct the biological efficacy trials which are a requirement for the registration process in Mexico. Results confirmed the efficacy of CR-7 in controlling key diseases on the crops as expected, and the trial results will be submitted to Mexican regulatory authorities for review in the coming weeks. The remaining registration dossier is being prepared and is planned to be submitted by spring or early summer of this year. BVT received US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval back in August 2019.
“As soon as regulatory approval is granted in Mexico, BVT is ready to move into commercial operation and execute on its Mexico market sales strategy,” says Ashish Malik, CEO of Bee Vectoring Technologies. “If the regulatory submission process goes as planned without any follow up review required, we could see Mexico registration in place later this year. Having already successfully gone through what many consider a more rigorous process with the US EPA, we are confident that we are poised to complete and achieve this approval in a timely fashion.”
In anticipation of the commercial launch, the Company has already started market development activities of its proprietary bee vectoring system with delivery of VECTORITE™ with CR-7 by both bumble bees and honeybees. It has completed demonstration trials with two major Mexican berry growers on blueberries and blackberries. The growers, who farm in multiple states across Mexico, saw positive results and have agreed to continue trials on larger plot sizes in the next growing season. In addition, the company has built partnerships with two major bumble bee companies serving the Mexican market and some large commercial honeybee companies who provide pollination services to growers.
The trials also tested the Company’s biological fungicide CR-7 as a weekly spray with very positive results: the growers saw a 66% or greater efficacy in incidence and severity reduction over untreated control or standard organic commercially treated crops. This paves the way for a future introduction of a foliar spray end use product containing CR-7. BVT received an exemption from tolerance on CR-7 from the EPA which means all crops that are gown using any end use formulation of CR-7, including a foliar spray product, would not have to be tested for residues of CR-7 by Mexican growers before they export their crops into the US. This is seen as a major benefit in an export-oriented market such as Mexico.
“Currently, Mexico uses US$250 million worth of chemical fungicides per year,” continued Mr. Malik. “In addition to the registration trials, BVT has been conducting demonstration trials with local growers to prove out the efficacy of the technology. The use of biologicals in place of chemical fungicides is a fast-growing trend and an increasing number of growers are modifying production practices to meet higher food safety and quality standards with less chemical input.”
At a time of rising food prices, population growth and concerns about global food security, there is a growing need for more sustainable agricultural practices – ones that will help address future food needs and tackle the emerging challenges of climate change and resource conservation. Mexico is a significant producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, with US$9.1 billion of produce exported to the US annually.1 BVT’s natural precision agriculture system has tremendous market potential in Mexico’s fresh vegetable and fruit production markets, which include 33,800 acres of strawberries, 9,300 acres of blueberries and over 391,000 acres of tomatoes and peppers.2
(1) Source: 2017, Inside Mexico, “What does Mexico export to the US?”
(2) Source: 2018, Mexico Agricultural and Fisheries Information Service (Servicio de Información Agroalimentaria y Pesquera)