Executive Director of Biologicals at CropLife Brasil organizes panel discussion on bio-inputs
Sep. 15, 2021
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
Amália Borsari, Executive Director of Biologicals at CropLife Brasil, organized a panel to discuss the use of bio-inputs in Brazil and concluded that biologicals are being increasingly valued and have considerable growth potential.
“There is increasing demand for bio-inputs in Brazil from farmers, businessmen, investors, consumers and public managers. The demand is for plant defense technologies that are both effective and sustainable, but also produce food free of residues, using renewable inputs,” she said.
“In modern agriculture, pesticides, regardless of the origin of their active ingredients or whether they are synthetic or biological, must be used together to achieve adequate control of diseases and pests and reduce the speed of loss of technology,” Borsari added.
She then pointed out that both bio-inputs and synthetic pesticides should be components of various strategies that make up Integrated Pest Management (IPM), stating, “You cannot discount any technology when facing the challenges of tropical agriculture.”
0ver the last decade, bio-input industries have invested heavily in the research and development of new assets, production techniques and formulations. “Today, the growth of this sector exceeds 30% per year, and the market share for some pest control products is already equivalent to chemical pesticides, as in the case of nematicides,” Borsari further added.
“The trend is to expand the market with new biological technologies for controlling pests and diseases. These advances mean products no longer have certain issues, such as shelf life, and do not need to be refrigerated. In addition, large-scale production techniques are being improved to increase the quality and safety of the final product, which has brought greater reliability to farmers,” she further said.
The number of such registered products has more than doubled in 2020, with 95 low-impact products being registered in the country, compared with 43 in the previous year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (Mapa). These products include those based on microbiological actives, such as Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus thuringiensis, in addition to some new biodefensives, such as a product based on garlic extract.
The number of products registered yearly jumped from two in 2000 to 95 in 2020, totaling 411 over 20 years. This class of products are in line with the framework of the National Bioinputs Plan launched by Mapa in 2020 to encourage organic production. In the same year, 399 chemical pesticides were registered for crop protection, compared to 433 in the previous year, according to Mapa.
“The bio-input sector is already worth over R$1 billion in Brazil and is expected to grow by over 25% per year, above the international average, which is around 15% per year,” Borsari noted.
In 2020, the value of applied agricultural pesticides totaled R$59.1 billion, up 10% compared to the previous year's total, according to data from the National Union of Vegetal Defense Products Industry (Sindiveg). In dollars, revenue was US$12.1 billion, a 10.4% reduction, the first time the sector dropped in five years.
According to Borsari, the highest rate of adoption of organic products is in the production of vegetables and fruits within a smaller area and in protected cultivation, where they are used to control pests and diseases during cultivation and post-harvest. Among larger-scale crops, their use on sugarcane, soybeans, cotton, coffee and corn is growing, she added.
“These cultures already account for more than 80% of the market in Brazil,” she explained.
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, is currently extensively researching biological control, with the involvement of 632 researchers in 73 related projects distributed among 40 units.
Despite being of natural origin, plant defense bio-inputs are regulated under legislation as agrochemicals in Brazil, or pesticides in the US and the EU. Production and commercialization will depend on evaluations of human safety, the environment and agronomic efficiency.
“Currently, many farmers do not use biological products because they do not believe in their efficiency, which was often compromised by incorrect use and previous lack of quality and available technology,” Borsari explained, noting the sector achieved a technological leap over a short period of time in terms of advanced formulation techniques, asset stability, shelf life and asset effectiveness.
CropLife Brasil is an association that brings together specialists, institutions and companies working in research and development in the areas of germplasm (seedlings and seeds), biotechnology, chemical pesticides and biological products.
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