Disease in intensive agriculture is a profound global problem. Reduced crop productivity through fungal and mite attack is estimated to result in revenue losses of some US$60B annually and a loss in subsistence staple crop yield sufficient to feed hundreds of millions of people. Disease in agriculture threatens the security of food supply, food safety throughout the value chain (farm to consumer) and the livelihood of farmers (and indeed the GDP of countries depended on agricultural sectors).
As a consequence, a fungicide and pesticide market worth some US$11B (approximately 25% of the total crop protection or pesticide market) annually has developed. This market is growing strongly and is predicted to maintain this growth as population, disease and pest pressures increase. The most widely used fungicides and pesticides are classified as toxic to some degree and are at best considered only partially effective.
Approximately 60% of fungicide use is in developed, highly regulated regions (Europe 50%, North America 10%) where farmers can typically afford (product and compliance) to adopt. However toxicity and ecological concerns (environmental accumulation) are such that the suite of available products continues to decrease as products are de-registered. Further, those products still available may themselves be de-registered or be subject to progressively more onerous restrictions.
In developing regions, expensive fungicides and pesticides are beyond the reach of most farmers and further, the lack of regulation and product knowledge commonly results in their misuse when the investment is made. Off-label application results in a failure to address the infection, the development of resistance, environmental accumulation with ecological impacts etc. Further, unsafe use, i.e. without appropriate PPE or overspray control results in exposure related health effects and tragically but all too commonly, lethal exposure, either by the farmer or those living in close proximity.
The developed and developing world needs an effective and sustainable solution for the control of disease in agriculture. BOOSTER-Mag™ is a nano-active Mg(OH)2 product developed for application as a probiotic insect repellent and fungus retardant in agriculture. The product is a classified non-toxic, non-dangerous good and its registration as a certified “organic” product for use in agriculture is pending. It is a profoundly innovative product that will find widespread global application in a number crops subject to common, recalcitrant, and commercially material plant diseases. BOOSTER-MagTM improves plant health, crop quality and yield and has the real potential to revolutionize agricultural practices.