Agritech Industry Makes Strides in Ensuring Sustainable and Secure Food Supply

USA News Group – Citizens of Portland were covered in smoke this week, after a 4-alarm grease fire destroyed the Shin Shin food factory. This incident followed another fire earlier in June that broke out at the Champlain Beef meat processing plant which is situated between the border of Upstate New York and Vermont, while another chicken factory in Illinois erupted in flames at the beginning of the month. While these two tragedies likely won’t make a dent in the overall food security of the United States, they do present a rising trend of concern towards where our food comes from. At every level, new research is finding ways to keep the food supply chain going, with new research from Carnegie Science showing that adopting new approaches to fertilizers can pave the way for more sustainable, resilient food sources. In the private sector, some of the top agritech companies continue to make major strides in their work to secure the food of the future, including new developments from Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (CSE: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF), AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: LW), Bunge Global SA (NYSE: BG), and Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG).

One innovation that’s gaining a lot of momentum is the concept of using commercially-reared bees to deliver biological pesticide alternatives directly to crops. It’s a method that some experts say has the potential to transform the $250 billion crop protection and fertilizer industry.

At the forefront of this innovation is Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (BVT) (CSE: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF), which focuses on biological agricultural products (“biologicals”) that aim to replace chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Its method of utilizing bees to deliver necessary biologicals has already received approval from the EPA on two occasions, in 2019 and 2021.

According to DataHorizzon Research, the biologicals sector is already experiencing significant growth, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3%, expected to reach a market size of US$45.3 billion by 2032.

The latest win for BVT is its announcement today of a partnership with the newly formed €8 billion (~US$8.56 billion) company Syensqo, a science and innovation pioneer in specialty chemicals and materials. As per the deal, BVT and Synensqo through an R&D agreement will develop BVT’s proprietary biological control agent Clonostachys rosea strain CR-7 (CR-7) into a seed treatment formulation for the multi-billion soybean market.

“Collaborating with Syensqo is a huge extension of our R&D efforts,” said Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “Their large team of formulation chemists and microbiologists will enable us to get to market with a strong seed treatment formulation much faster. Fast-tracking BVT into soybean crops through the well-established seed coating market will expand the Company’s addressable market beyond bee vectoring, bringing CR-7 to more growers by tapping into approaches they are already familiar with. BVT’s go-to market strategy is to commercialize this new CR-7 seed treatment product for sale through large agriculture suppliers, partners and distributors.”

The partnership comes after BVT recently achieved significant progress with CR-7, particularly as a seed treatment for soybeans. Recent US trials showed wherever CR-7 was applied, the results outperformed the base seed treatment 81% of the time. This is in addition to previous successful trials in 2021, which also showed CR-7 to be an effective treatment against Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a huge challenge for soybean growers.

BVT has expanded its corporate partnerships, leading to international trials and wider use of CR-7. A Michigan State University trial demonstrated CR-7’s effectiveness, reducing early disease infection and fungal diseases by over 90%, matching traditional chemical treatments.

In the past year, BVT has initiated trials in Spain, Mexico, and South Africa, and made its first sale of CR-7 to BioSafe Systems. Encouraged by positive trial results, BVT plans to conduct further trials to confirm CR-7’s effectiveness.

Today is also the launch of the annual Tech Days in North America event from AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO). The event will highlight AGCO’s commitment to farmer-focused solutions for the mixed fleet.

Managing a farm is complicated, managing the right machine and technology for the job shouldn’t be,” said Eric Hansotia, Chairman, President and CEO of AGCO. “AGCO is unique in offering differentiated equipment brands to serve all farmers’ needs and the only company that can effectively retrofit almost any make or model of equipment with technology that will lead to higher yields with fewer inputs. This is how we have consistently put Farmers First for years.”

Embedded within AGCO’s entire portfolio are precision agriculture and clean technology solutions designed to help farmers sustainably feed the world now and in the future. AGCO Finance, the company’s financing arm, also focuses on future growth by collaborating with dealers globally to offer farmers customized and flexible financing solutions.

Potato processor Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: LW) recently reached a settlement with Oregon regulators over wastewater violations. However, the potato giant is now also facing a securities lawsuit that claims Lamb Weston hid tech problems that cost millions. However, those challenges aside, Lamb Weston is persevering with new partnerships and innovation, including a newly announced partnership with foodservice company ILG Food Group to better serve the Swedish Mediterranean foodservice market. Lamb Weston and ILG Food Group have been partners for the Dutch and Belgian markets for years, and are now expanding their partnership to Sweden.

For the pet food market, Bunge Global SA (NYSE: BG) recently expanded into pea, faba protein concentrates through a new factory in Latvia, exclusively producing for Bunge and run by Golden Fields. Bunge’s new range of pea and faba protein concentrates offers several enhanced attributes, including 55% to 70% protein content, non-GMO and allergen-free labeling, a light color, and a finely powdered form. News of the agreement for Bunge came shortly after Golden Fields opened the plant-based facility, which cost €16 million (~US$17.1 million) to build.

Bunge highlights the sustainability benefits of its new protein concentrates, produced using crop-rotation practices and dry-fractionation methods that eliminate the need for water or solvents typically used in pulse protein production.

“Our new pea and faba protein concentrates are setting the bar for European-origin pulse proteins to help customers meet growth and sustainability needs across food and feed,” said the company on social media.

Packaged foods giant Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) recently announced it’s advancing its artificial intelligence (AI) solutions through a human-centered approach that prioritizes responsible use of AI across the entire company. Done through a strategic collaboration with Microsoft and EY to enhance its IT, Supply Chain, R&D, Demand Science, Brand and Design operations.

“As we implement new solutions available to us through collaborations and emerging technologies, we are not only realizing measurable results now, but identifying opportunities for future growth,” said Azeem Kapadia, senior director of AI strategy at Conagra Brands. “These new digital capabilities will benefit our entire team, sharpen our focus and better shape how we operate and innovate throughout Conagra.”

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