Plant Health Care® (AIM: PHC.L), a leading provider of novel patent-protected biological products to global agriculture markets, announces its new seed treatment, PHC279, for the prevention and treatment of Asian soybean rust (ASR) has received federal approval for sale in Brazil.
- PHC279 is the first product from Plant Health Care's PREtec technology platform ("Vaccines for Plants") approved for sale in Brazil, following $20m invested globally over the last eight years.
- PHC279 has the potential to deliver disease control and yield increase worth approximately US$75/ha for Brazilian soybean growers, giving them an ROI of 6x or more, while reducing the use of potentially less safe agrochemicals.
- PHC279's environmentally friendly profile and unique mode of action is expected to lead to wide adoption by Brazilian soybean growers.
- The Company aims to launch PHC279 during the second half of 2021 and expects to build significant market penetration over the following 2-3 years; gross margins are expected to be comparable to those of current Harpin products.
- PREtec peptides represent a novel class of technology which stimulate the plant to defend itself. Derived from natural proteins, PREtec is an environmentally friendly approach to protecting crops and is compatible with mainstream agricultural practices.
- Brazil is the world's leading soybean producer with 38.6 million hectares (95.3 million acres) planted in the current season. ASR, caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, is a devastating disease with an estimated crop yield loss of up to 90%. Brazilian soybean farmers spent US$2 billion on fungicides during the 2016/2017 harvest for ASR control. Intensive use of traditional chemical fungicides has resulted in the reduction of efficacy of those products over time, highlighting the need for new, environmentally friendly products such as PHC279.
The regulatory process in Brazil for agricultural products involves detailed review and approval by three government agencies. The Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) confirms that a product is effective; the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) checks for safety to humans in use and in food, while the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) confirms that products do not pose a threat to the environment. While the time required for registration of conventional pesticides can be six years or more, PHC279 passed through this process with approval from all three agencies in one year. This confirms the Brazilian government's commitment to promoting effective and environmentally friendly products.
Chris Richards, CEO of Plant Health Care said, "PHC279 is the first of many products we plan to introduce in Brazil from the Company's PREtec platform. Achieving regulatory approval in Brazil in under 12 months is a strong endorsement of the sustainability credentials of PHC279. We anticipate launching PHC279 for use in the 2021/22 soybean season and the Company is advancing plans to secure distribution partners. Outside Brazil, we are preparing to launch this novel technology directly to markets in the U.S. and other countries, initially targeting markets with an opportunity of $5 billion."