LONDON, UK: Eden Research plc has signed an agreement with Sipcam Oxon which allows Sipcam to market, distribute and sell, on an exclusive basis, Eden’s fungicide product, Mevalone, in four North African countries, where it will be marketed as “Araw”.

The Agreement enables Sipcam to distribute Araw for use initially against Botrytis on wine and table grapes, strawberries, tomatoes and cucurbits (which include cucumber, courgette, squash, melon) in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

North Africa is well recognised for its agricultural output, which is increasing in quantity and quality. All four countries are members of a biocontrol commission established by the International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) which promotes sustainable and environmentally friendly means of managing pests and disease and collaborates with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Commission of the European Union (CEU) and the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO).

The fungicidal active ingredients in Araw® are exempt from residue limits and have very low pre-harvest intervals, giving growers the ability to apply the product just prior to harvest, providing maximum benefits and flexibility. This is beneficial for main export markets such as the EU where there are clearly defined maximum residue limits (MRLs) and pesticide residue notifications can lead to rejections at the border.

Grapes and tomatoes make up two of the major crop types in Egypt. Increasing exports drive market growth and most of Egypt’s fruit and vegetables are exported to the EU. In January 2020, Egypt’s Parliament approved a new law that regulates organic agriculture and aims to reduce the use of conventional, synthetic pesticides.

In Tunisia, agricultural produce accounts for over 6% of total exports value and, in particular, exports of organic products are growing. Tunisian organic agriculture also has recognised equivalence with the EU.

Approximately 260,000 hectares of fruit and vegetables are grown in Morocco and in 2020 tomato exports to the EU totalled $529.8million. However, in 2018 up to 7.9% of total Moroccan fruit and vegetable samples analysed by the EU-coordinated control programme (EUCP) exceeded MRLs. Across the whole European market, table grapes were one of the products that most regularly exceeded MRLs.

Commercial activities will begin in the four countries following the receipt of regulatory clearance for the marketing and use of Araw. Following the registration of Eden’s Cedroz™ in Morocco earlier this year, we anticipate successful registrations in due course.

Sean Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Eden, commented: “Sipcam currently sells Mevalone® under the brands 3logy® in Italy and Araw® in Spain and Portugal. We believe they are an excellent partner for developing the market in North Africa. This agreement builds on earlier, positive developments where the label for Araw® has been significantly expanded to include a range of new crops in Spain. The experience in Spain is directly transferrable to these North African countries due to similarities in climatic conditions and agricultural practices, so we anticipate relatively easy integration of Araw into crop protection programmes once approval is granted.  Mevalone is approved as an organic input in the EU and is well-aligned with the direction of regulatory travel in North Africa.”

Giovanni Affaba, Managing Director of Sipcam Oxon said: “Agriculture is a key sector in most of these North Africa’s countries, with the average contribution to total gross domestic product (GDP) being around 13%. Farmers must achieve a very high yield under a strict quality management system (known as Integrated Pest Management) to comply with a quality certification chain. As part of this system, Araw represents an extremely powerful tool to control Botrytis infection, as well as other diseases, in a variety of crops. The formulation is plastic and solvent free and is designed with an innovative encapsulation system – Eden’s patented Sustaine® technology, which ensures a controlled release of the active ingredients and allows growers to protect their harvest without residues.”

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