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Agriculture companies accelerate biopesticide development amid consumer pressure for less chemical-intensive farming

, | | January 6, 2020

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Agribusiness is increasingly turning to natural and sustainable alternatives to chemicals as consumers rebuff genetically modified foods and concerns grow over Big Ag’s role in climate change.

At the heart of the trend are innovations that harness beneficial microorganisms in the soil, including seed-coatings of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that can do the same work as traditional chemicals, from warding off pests to helping plants flourish, according to a global patent study by research firm GreyB Services.

The global fertilizer and pesticide market is around $240 billion, and grows 2% to 3% a year, according to Ben Belldegrun, a managing partner at Pontifax AgTech, a company that invests in food and agriculture technology. While so-called biologicals including biofertilizers, biopesticides and biostimulants are just 2% of that market, those have been growing closer to 15% a year for the past five years, Belldegrun said.

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Pressure for less chemical-intensive farming methods is coming from retailers like Walmart Inc., non-governmental organizations and consumers, who are throwing more dollars toward organic and other niche foods with environmental or animal welfare claims.

Read full, original article: ‘Post-chemical world’ takes shape as agribusiness goes green

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