Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for agriculture, turf, ornamental and water treatment markets, has shipped its first product to the African continent.
MBI shipped its biofungicide, REYSANA, to Morocco for use by growers on tomatoes, grapes and cucurbits. Reysana contains the same ingredients as Regalia Biofungicide, which is marketed and sold in more than 10 countries worldwide.
“Our first shipments into the African continent marks a significant milestone for our company,” said Pam Marrone, Marrone Bio Innovation’s Chief Executive Officer. “Biologically-based Integrated Pest Management is becoming a necessity for agricultural exporters in Morocco and other regions around the world. Specifically, biopesticides are increasingly being integrated into this new strategy to ensure ease of access to European and other markets with strict pesticide residue standards. In addition, consumer purchasing preferences demonstrate a growing trend towards food production safety and sustainability. We look forward to our continued expansion into Africa and other areas of the world with a wide range of unmet pest and disease challenges.”
Morocco currently has a free trade agreement with the United States. Agriculture represents about 15% of GDP, and agricultural trade is the largest contributor to GDP growth for Morocco, with exports of $2.4 billion. Sixty percent of Morocco’s ag exports are to the EU and 27% to the United States. The Moroccan Government is keen to upgrade its agricultural sector under the “Plan Maroc Vert,” with increased investments in green, innovative technologies to support the upgrade of small and medium producers. The European Investment Bank recently agreed to lend EUR 42.5 million for irrigation and agriculture in support of the Plan Maroc Vert.
The drivers behind the rapid adoption of biologicals are globally recognized and include evidence of increased yields and crop quality when biologicals are used either by themselves or integrated into programs. Biologicals are also a key driver behind the reduction or elimination of synthetic pesticide residues on crops for export markets and to delay of pest and plant pathogen resistance to chemicals. Concerns about ensuring the safety for farm workers and pollinators, as well as less environmental pollution overall, are also important factors in the rapid growth in adoption of biopesticides and biostimulants worldwide.
Tomatoes are the largest vegetable crop grown in Morocco and a crop for which Reysana has consistently demonstrated efficacy against a broad range of diseases. The Moroccan crop protection market is valued at approximately $130 to $135 million, and fungicides are 36% of pesticides sold, with powdery and downy mildews the predominant diseases.