October 25, 2017 / 1:18 PM / 8 months ago

Bayer's Brazil unit receives approval for soybean fungicide

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian unit of Bayer AG has received regulatory approval to sell its FOX Xpro fungicide, executives said on Wednesday, potentially boosting its agro-chemical business in one of the world’s largest grains-producing nations.

The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the Bayer Healthcare subgroup production plant in Wuppertal, Germany February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo

The new product’s main focus is soybeans, particularly due to Asian soy rust disease, caused by two types of fungi. The costs for controlling the disease with fungicides as well as losses stemming from it, reach $2 billion in a crop year, Brazilian agricultural research agency Embrapa has estimated.

The fungicide may also be applied on cotton, barley, sunflower, corn and wheat.

The market for crop-defense products is about $10 billion in Brazil, Jean Zonato, Bayer fungicides director in Brazil, told Reuters on the sidelines of an event to announce the registration of the product, which officially came on Sept. 27.

Fungicides represent about 40 percent of the market, he said. The new product will be available to farmers in the 2018/19 crop cycle after Bayer conducts field work. Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama, health agency Anvisa and the Agriculture Ministry were involved in the approval process, Bayer said.

Bayer and Sumitomo Chemical Co in June announced a new agreement to develop fungicidal mixture products aimed at controlling soybean diseases in Brazil. The nation produced 114 million tonnes of the oilseed in the 2016/17 crop season, according to government data.

The two companies are still in the process of developing the products after forming the partnership, which is designed to create new means of combating major plant diseases in Brazil, a Bayer spokeswoman said.

In its second-quarter results, Bayer said sales of its crop science division tumbled more than 15 percent primarily because of its business in Brazil, reflecting its importance as a market for seed technology, insecticides and herbicides.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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