Disruptive Technologies are Likely to Give a New Face to the Crop Protection Chemical Market
With the world around us changing so rapidly, the essence of any sector of the economy lies in keeping pace with the evolving technology. This has been true in almost all spheres of the industry; however, the most realistic of them all is the new disruptive technology that has entered the agricultural sector. With growing environmental concerns and people becoming more and more health-conscious, technology has got to play a serious role in food supply and, indirectly, the food security of economies globally. The use of preecision technologies in agriculture in the form of pesticide spray is being welcomed in most parts of the world.
With countries like Thailand burdened with excessive pesticide use, such emerging technologies are going to be of great importance in the years to come. Also, major pesticide bans (including a ban on glyphosate, due to having extreme negative impacts on bee populations in the United States and other countries of importance) to are likely to increase the importance of precision farming-based pesticide use in agriculture, so that judicious use of various crop protection chemicals can be carried out. Currently, stringent laws, in the form of keeping checks on MRLs and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, are already in place, when it comes to any agricultural products crossing the borders. Therefore, keeping a check on per acre use is also extremely important; precision agriculture solves such problems.
Recently, Paul Stamets, a mycologist and founder of Host Defensive Organic Mushrooms, was granted the patent rights of fungi that can, in effect, disrupt the pesticide industry, while providing support to honeybees. The “smart pesticides”, as they are being called, are expected to provide safe and permanent solutions for controlling over 200,000 species of insects. Such technological advancements are likely to change the dynamics of the pesticide industry on a global scale.
Biopesticides are Likely to Gain Momentum
Biopesticides are showing large-scale adoption by the industry, due to less regulation on product approval and low costs of product development. Being essentially less harmful, when compared to regular synthetic pesticides, biopesticides typically affect only the target pest and other organisms that are closely related to it, as against broad-spectrum conventional pesticides, which can be harmful to other organisms. It takes nearly USD 250 million and 10 years to develop a new pesticide product; for the development of GM crop, it takes 12-13 years and roughly USD 130 million. However, a biopesticide or biological can come to market in 3-5 years, with roughly USD 3-5 million developmental cost.
A key factor is likely to be greater R&D investment in the area, now that many of the major agrochemical companies have an interest in the sector. This, coupled with the market opportunities listed above, suggests that the biopesticide sector may perform ahead of the crop protection sector as a whole. The trend of the market can be seen to be changing from a single-component formulation to a multi-component formulation, making it more suitable for two or more pests. With the advancement in nanotechnology, nanoemulsions and nanosuspensions are expected to make a significant impact on the market value of biopesticides.