Mar. 8, 2023
The market for biocontrols and biostimulants in Mexico is worth around US$400 million, according to some domestic leaders in this sector, who added that it is still ″far from reaching its full potential.″
″For every peso spent on biocontrol of pests and diseases, three pesos are spent on nutrition and biological stimulation,″ said Ignacio Simón, (President of the Mexican Association of Bioinput Producers, AMPBIO).
According to market analysts, agriculture in Mexico has two main scenarios. The first the extensive agriculture of cereals, such as corn, wheat, sugar cane and beans, while cotton predominates, aimed at the local market.
The other is a dynamic export sector for higher-value products, such as avocados, tomatoes, and red fruits.
Fruits and vegetables account for most of the nearly $24 billion in agricultural products exported by Mexico in 2021, an increase of 10%, according to data from market research firm FreshFruit Peru.
Other data show that most of the $200 million spent by DunhamTrimmer in 2020 in Mexico was on biocontrol products, and this figure could reach around $500 million by end the decade.
According to Simón, ″There is no exact data, but we are seeing exponential growth in the bioinput market.″
″The more than 40 companies associated with AMPBIO that generate approximately more than 1,500 direct jobs and more than 5,000 indirect jobs,″ he added.
However, the dynamic trend does not include extensive crops, such as maize, despite their enormous potential.
Mexico is the country of origin of corn, a cereal to which seven million of the country’s 22 million agricultural hectares is allocated for. However, more than 40% of domestic consumption must be covered by imports.
The country cannot meet its production potential due to its low levels of technology, which include the minimal use of bioinputs on crops. Unlike Brazil, where soy production was fundamental for the development of the local bio-input industry, extensive cultivation in Mexico has been slow.
″There will always be some corn producers out there, or there will be some wheat producers with sustainability ideas for applying products with low environmental impact,″ said Óscar Cruz (Director of Market Development at the bio-input company Innovak Global).
″But the reality is that 95% of the market for this type of extensive cultivation does not have this objective and production system,″ he added.
Ileana Velásquez (Director of bio-input company Biokrone), said that in addition to the difficulties facing the country’s registration system for biocontrol agents, a cultural change is necessary so bioinsecticides, biofungicides, and other biologicals begin to be used on a large scale in the country.
Mexicans still like to ″apply a product and see if insects die immediately. But biocontrols do does not work like that, they do not have immediate action, they work more in terms of control, which requires a culture of prevention, a lot of prevention,″ she added.
In addition to Mexico, the company has products registered in eight countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, she further added.
″Our international demand, mainly from markets like Brazil, comes mainly from biocontrol agents, but in Mexico, we sell biostimulants and biofertilizers under the concept of bio fortifiers,″ Velásquez said.
Óscar Cruz (Director of Market Development at bio-input company Innovak Global) said that the development of bio-inputs in Mexico is mainly linked to high-value technical crops and focuses on exports.
He highlighted the examples of avocados, which totaled $3 billion in exports in 2021, red fruits with another $3 billion, and tomatoes with almost $2,000 million.
″These are products that go to markets where there is a willingness to pay for higher quality processes and that allow for greater investment per kilo in production,″ Cruz said.
″Despite having a smaller share of the country's cultivated area, 95% of organic products in Mexico are consumed in intensive cultivations, such as fruit trees that target the international market,″ he added.
″Over the past five years, the biomarket in Mexico has tripled, but it could already be adding up to some $400 million, and maintains rates of 15% to 20%,″ Cruz said.
″Biologicals are quickly taking over the market for molecules used in traditional agrochemicals, which are being discontinued due to regulatory issues or market demand,″ he pointed out.
For example, the use of some insecticides belonging to families such as organophosphates and carbamates are being restricted due to their high toxicity and impact on human health.
″In the same cases, there are both some herbicides and fungicides, and we can identify more restrictions on their use every year, as well as more international regulations, such as production certifiers for the markets we are targeting,″ Cruz said in conclusion.
(Editing by Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages)
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