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As the name suggests, biopesticides, are a form of pesticides that are formulated from naturally-occurring materials, such as bacteria, plants, animals, and minerals. This class of pesticides has gained considerable traction over the past few decades as the movement towards sustainable agriculture has intensified. Their main benefit, as compared to conventional synthetic pesticides, is that they control the proliferation of pests on a crop or in an agricultural field through non-toxic mechanisms. As a result, they do not harm the crop and even if they remain on the crop surface, they can be easily metabolized by the body, since they do not contain any chemicals. Several chemical companies are making their mark in the biopesticides market, developing innovative, advanced bio-based crop protection solutions. Fortune Business Insights lists the following as the top 10 companies operating in the global biopesticides market.
Based in Switzerland, Syngenta has been a pioneer in agriculture science and technology. The company has emerged as a major player in the biochemical pesticides market and has been strategically enlarging its presence in this market and diversifying its portfolio through acquisitions. For example, in October 2020, Syngenta announced the acquisition of Valagro, a prominent company in the biologicals domain, consolidating its position as one of the top bio-based agricultural chemicals companies.
Operating in more than 90 countries worldwide, this German chemical giant has earned fame for developing a diverse range of sustainable, eco-friendly agricultural inputs. For example, the company’s latest pest/insect control product, Broflanilide, became the first of its kind to receive global registration from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Developed jointly with Mitsui Chemicals, Broflanilide has been formulated as an active insecticide to aid crop production as well as control pests in rural and urban areas. In 2019, BASF reported annual revenue of USD 72.60 billion.
With a profile spanning over five decades, Netherlands-based Koppert Biological Systems has built a robust portfolio of biopesticide solutions, catering to the evolving needs of the agriculture and horticulture sectors. The company has been bolstering its presence in the global market through partnerships with different entities to expand the utilization of bio-based crop protection technologies. In October 2019, for instance, Koppert joined forces with the UK-based not-for-profit organization, CABI, to implement an integrated pest management approach to fight against the tomato leafminer pest in Kenya.
Focused on augmenting plant health and enhancing pest management in agriculture, California-domiciled Marrone Bio Innovations specializes in the development of biopesticides using microorganisms isolated from unique samples collected from insects, soils, and flowers. The company has been broadening its global presence by partnering with regional players in emerging markets. For example, in March 2020, Marrone collaborated with Anasac, a leading agricultural inputs provider in Chile, to distribute its GRANDEVO® Bioinsecticide and VENERATE® Bioinsecticide in Chile. Both products have been engineered to provide integrated management, whilst leaving beneficial pollinators and insects untouched.
New York, US-based BioWorks Inc. has risen to the forefront in the biopesticides market, having built a diverse and strong portfolio of crop disease management, pest control, plant nutrition, soil amendment products over the past 25 years of its existence. Concentrating on developing innovative products, the company aims at deepening its footprint in local markets around the globe. In November 2020, BioWorks announced the release of its biological fungicide called ‘RootShield PLUS+ Granules’ in Canada. The PLUS+ indicates additional active ingredients in the original product, which broaden the disease spectrum of the solution.
This US-based agro-biochemical company is focused on creating diverse biorational solutions to enhance agricultural productivity, protect public health, and conserve natural habitats in forests. Its unwavering commitment to developing sustainable products has propelled Valent to a commanding position in this market. In October 2020, Valent entered into a novel collaboration with SATT Paris-Saclay, a promoter of disruptive technologies, to develop game-changing sustainable biopesticide technologies for agricultural applications.
Hailing from Delaware, United States, Corteva Agriscience is a giant in the American agriculture seed and chemical industry. Formerly the agricultural unit of DowDuPont, it became an independent public company in 2019 and has become the world’s largest pure-play agricultural organization. The company has been strengthening its position in the biopesticides market through measured investments. For example, in August 2019, Corteva announced that it will be purchasing 30% of the equity in Israel-based Evogene's agriculture biological subsidiary, Lavie Bio, an innovator in computational biology.
Specializing in agro-pharmaceuticals and bio-stimulants, Italy-based Isagro has developed a wide range of products, including biopesticides, fungicides, and agricultural pheromones. Technological advancements, collaborations with industry players, and research into sustainable agricultural inputs have been the prime growth strategies of the company. In May 2017, Isagro USA announced the launch of an expanding portfolio of bio-solutions for growers across the US seeking to meet the rising demand for bio-based, organic foods.
This Mumbai, India-based organization has garnered attention and praise for its specialty in manufacturing agrochemicals, chemical intermediates, and industrial chemicals. The company has established its operations in more than 130 countries around the world and reported a turnover of USD 4.87 billion in 2019-20. UPL is focused on advancing innovations in bio-based crop protection solutions and has been strengthening its portfolio through acquisitions and partnerships.
Founded in 1883, FMC Corporation is a Philadelphia-based chemical manufacturing entity that was set up as an insecticide producer and later branched out into other industries and domains. The company features an enviable portfolio of advanced insect management solutions and biopesticides. Further, the company is steadily gaining ground in the field of biologicals with products such as the bio-nematicide Presence. In June 2020, FMC Corporation unveiled its new undertaking, FMC Ventures. It will serve as the venture capital arm of the company, with the goal of making investments in startups and nascent companies that are engaged in the development of emerging technologies in agriculture.
Disruptions Caused by COVID-19 to Negatively Impact the Market
The supply and distribution of biopesticides critically depend on smooth and uninterrupted inter-country and intra-country trade and movement of farm laborers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive disruptions in the agro-chemical sector. Lockdowns, social distancing, shortage of workers, and travel bans have crippled the supply and availability of crop protection solutions worldwide. For example, in East Africa, transportation costs of pesticides escalated and shipping was delayed as the number of flights leaving and entering the region was reduced to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that integrated pest management activities have been severely affected due to COVID-19. While biopesticides are playing an instrumental role in aiding the transition towards sustainable agricultural practices, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily stalled this paradigmatic shift.
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Name: Shantanu Ayachit
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