Bee Vectoring Technologies Closes Deals with Eight New Georgia Blueberry Growers
Mississauga, ON Canada and Sacramento, CA USA (December 4, 2019) – Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (TSXV: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF) today announced that it has closed a total of ten deals with blueberry growers in Georgia for the upcoming growing season: this includes eight new growers and two previously announced growers. These producers will be using BVT’s proprietary bee delivery system and US EPA-registered product, VECTORITE™ with CR-7, on their blueberry crops.
The blueberry growers will be using BVT on an estimated 500 combined acres of conventional and organic fields for the 2020 blueberry season in Georgia, where blooming starts in February. Blooming marks the beginning of the blueberry season, when the BVT system is used, but crop season continues until harvest which occurs in the spring and summer. All but one grower are first-time users who will be piloting BVT on a small percentage of their total acreage with the expectation that they will progressively add BVT across their entire operations over two to three seasons. The growers farm on a combined total of about 1,500 acres.
“The Company’s growth strategy in the blueberry market consists of three key activities: initial market penetration, customer retention and expansion through exceptional customer service, and leveraging the initial experiences to gain new customers,” says Ashish Malik, CEO of Bee Vectoring Technologies. “Currently in Georgia, the Company is focused on closing deals with growers that are prominent early adopters of new technologies in their communities – and these initial growers are all key influencers. Over time through delivery of exceptional experiences, BVT expects adoption of its system to increase to 100% of these farmers’ acres through building loyalty and positive word of mouth. Lastly, the Company continues to onboard new, additional growers as we move closer to the next growing season. This is the strategy that will be executed in each region, as the growing season progresses geographically across the US.”
“Historically, growers start by using BVT on 10-20% of their acreage, and within three years they usually progress to 100%. In alignment with the Company’s strategy, these growers were chosen because they are highly influential. While their initial 500 acres can grow to 1,500 acres in a couple of years, we expect other growers in Georgia will take notice and adopt the BVT system in the near future. This will increase the Company’s overall market share across the state through new customer adoptions while also increasing BVT’s share of the wallet with these initial growers,” continued Mr. Malik.
Blueberries flourish in North America from April through October, and imports from South America stock grocery shelves from October to March; North American consumers love blueberries and drive demand all year long.(1)
The state of Georgia grows 15,000 acres of cultivated blueberries, which is only about 17% of the 90,000(2) acres cultivated nationwide across the US. “With US EPA approval completed this past summer, the opportunity for the Company to capture significant US market share in blueberry cultivation is just starting,” says Mr. Malik.
Left: A commercially-reared bumblebee carries BVT VECTORITE™ with CR-7 directly to a blueberry bloom.
Right: BVT’s proprietary bee delivery system on-site at a crop field.
BVT’s natural precision agriculture system uses biological pesticide alternatives delivered directly to blueberry flowers by commercially-raised bees, increasing yields by up to 29%(3), enhancing disease protection and reducing the use of water and fossil fuels – all with a fraction of the product required for traditional spray applications.
“Blueberries are grown all over North America, with different growing seasons based on local weather, which gives BVT the runway to cement even more deals soon,” continues Mr. Malik “Next, the Company is expanding its sales efforts to the Pacific Northwest and Michigan, where the season is about to start, and we are expecting multiple new order commitments over the next several weeks.”
Michigan, Oregon and Washington have a combined 45,000(4) acres of cultivated highbush blueberries. The three states represent 50% of the US market – of which, the 90,000 acres nationwide is about 30% of the 270,000(5) acres of highbush blueberries cultivated worldwide.
(1) Source: US Highbush
Blueberry Council, Blueberry Season
(2) Source: USDA, 2018 Agricultural Statistics Annual
(3) Source: BVT, November 6, 2019 Press Release
(4) Source: USDA, 2018 Agricultural Statistics Annual
(5) Source: FAO, United Nations, 2017 Statistics
BVT, an agriculture technology company, is a market disruptor with a significant global market opportunity in the $240 billion crop protection and fertilizer market. BVT has pioneered a natural precision agriculture system that replaces chemical pesticides and wasteful plant protection product spray applications by delivering biological pesticide alternatives to crops using commercially grown bees. BVT’s award-winning technology, precision vectoring, is completely harmless to bees and allows minute amounts of naturally-derived pesticides (called biologicals) to be delivered directly to blooms, providing improved crop protection and yield results than traditional chemical pesticides – and improving the health of the soil, the microbiome and the environment. Currently, BVT has over 60 granted patents, over 30 patents pending in all major agricultural countries worldwide, and has US EPA registration of its VECTORITE™ with CR-7 (EPA Registration No. 90641-2) for sale as a registered biological fungicide for use on the labeled crops.
Ashish Malik, President & CEO
Babak Pedram, Investor Relations
Virtus Advisory Group
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Certain statements contained in this press release constitute “forward-looking information” as such term is defined in applicable Canadian securities legislation. The words “may”, “would”, “could”, “should”, “potential”, “will”, “seek”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” and similar expressions as they relate to the Company, “annual revenue potential”, are intended to identify forward-looking information. All statements other than statements of historical fact may be forward-looking information. Such statements reflect the Company’s current views and intentions with respect to future events, and current information available to the Company, and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including: planted acres of strawberries in Florida, selling price of competitive chemical pesticides and the US to Canadian dollar exchange rate. Material factors or assumptions were applied in providing forward-looking information. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking information to vary from those described herein should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize. These factors include changes in law, competition, litigation, the ability to implement business strategies and pursue business opportunities, state of the capital markets, the availability of funds and resources to pursue operations, new technologies, the ability to protect intellectual property rights, the ability to obtain patent protection for products, third-party intellectual property infringement claims, regulatory changes affecting products, failing research and development activities, the ability to reach and sustain profitability, dependence on business and technical experts, the ability to effectively manage business operations and growth, issuance of debt, dilution of existing securities, volatility of publicly traded securities, potential conflicts of interest, unlikelihood of dividend payments, the potential costs stemming from defending third-party intellectual property infringement claims, the ability to secure relationships with manufacturers and purchasers, as well as general economic, market and business conditions, as well as those risk factors discussed or referred to in the Company’s Filing Statement dated May 29, 2015, filed with the securities regulatory authorities in certain provinces of Canada and available at www.sedar.com. Should any factor affect the Company in an unexpected manner, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, the actual results or events may differ materially from the results or events predicted. Any such forward-looking information is expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement. Moreover, the Company does not assume responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such forward-looking information. The forward-looking information included in this press release is made as of the date of this press release and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information, other than as required by applicable law. All figures are in Canadian dollars.