FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bee Vectoring Technologies Signs First Grower Deal for A Commercial Crop Post EPA Approval
Mississauga, ON Canada and Sacramento, CA USA (October 23, 2019) – Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (TSXV: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF) today announced Sizemore Farms, a top-tier grower of Florida strawberries, as the first commercial grower deal for their newly US EPA-registered product, VECTORITE™ with CR-7. The BVT system uses commercially-managed bees to carry its all natural plant protection product, VECTORITE™ with CR-7, directly to key areas of target plants – using significantly less product than traditional spray applications and reducing water and fossil fuel consumption.
Sizemore Farms will be using the Company’s proprietary bee delivery system and VECTORITE™ with CR-7 on 100% of their 62-acre organic strawberry crop this season and is considering testing the naturally-derived fungicide on a portion of their 600+ conventional acres for possible implementation on next year’s crop. Typically, growers start with a pilot on a smaller crop before progressively adopting it across their entire operation over two to three seasons. This progressive adoption and deployment of BVT product season over season is to be expected with the Company’s customer base of growers and farmers.
Strawberries are big business: Florida produces about 20 million flats a year with a value of over US$307 million, second only to California.(1) John Sizemore, fourth-generation grower and co-owner of Sizemore Farms with his brother Jeff, is a grower and shipper of the Florida Supreme brand strawberries. He has clearly observed that consumers want more organics and fewer chemicals, and isn’t surprised that organic strawberries have become the fastest growing segment of his business. However, he also knows that growing produce in Florida’s finicky climate has its challenges, so he’s excited about using BVT’s unique biological product and process to ensure a quality crop.
“Sizemore Farms is BVT’s first committed order on a commercial crop after our recent US EPA approval, and we’re excited to have them be our first partner in the commercialization phase of operation,” says Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “Sizemore Farms trialed BVT last year and were very pleased to see a 27% minimum increase in marketable yield compared to the untreated plots. This commercial deal is a direct outcome of that trial. We look forward to working further with John Sizemore, who is a progressive farmer that is very influential among the Florida strawberry grower community – and to working with other like-minded growers.”
BVT is busy working with other commercial growers to acquire additional orders as blooming season approaches. Additionally, the Company is committed to fully selling the allocation of bees it ordered earlier in the summer to allow its suppliers sufficient time to grow the hives in time for the strawberry season. Strawberry growing season is now underway in Florida; next up is the January blueberry season in Florida and the February blueberry season in Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey and the Pacific Northwest.
The agricultural industry is undergoing a significant transformation to greener technology. The disruptor is biological pesticides, of which CR-7 is at the forefront. Biopesticides, another term for it, is an evolving field and increasingly replacing chemical pesticides for commercial farming. The market for biopesticides is projected to be larger than the market for chemicals(2) within 30 years. The biopesticide market is currently estimated to be worth almost $5 billion(3) with a future growth rate of between 10% and 20%.
(1) Source: USDA, 2018 Agricultural Statistics Annual.
(2) Source: Serazetdinova L. The future of crop protection. Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network, nEUROSTRESSPEP. 2019.
(3) Source: Persistence Market Research Pvt. Ltd. Biopesticides market is forecasted to reach US$ ~ 13.0 billion by the end of 2029. PMR; 2019. www.persistencemarketresearch.com.
About VECTORITE™ with CR-7
In August 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved Clonostachys rosea CR-7 (CR-7) for use as a fungicide on commercial crops. CR-7 is the first registered active ingredient for the company and the first active ingredient approved by the EPA for application via bees, known as “bee vectoring,” in which BVT is a global leader.
Sold under the brand name VECTORITE™ with CR-7, the product is labeled for numerous high-value crops, including strawberries, blueberries, sunflowers and almonds. With the EPA registration VECTORITE with CR-7 (EPA Registration No. 90641-2) is available now for sale as a registered fungicide for use on the labeled crops.
BVT’s patent-pending bee vectoring technology harmlessly uses bumblebees and honeybees as natural, precision delivery mechanisms for organic compounds that inhibit or control common crop diseases while enhancing crop vigor and productivity. This proprietary process enables a targeted delivery of crop controls via bee pollination to replace traditional spraying. It requires a minimal amount of active ingredient and results in better yields, superior quality produce, and reduces environmental impact, water use and disruptions to farm labor due to the use of chemical pesticides.
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.