From momentous mergers to counterfeit conundrums, the agrochemical industry is ripe with a variety of news worth following. Here is a roundup of some of the top happenings in agrochem this week.
ChemChina and Sinochem Merger Projected to Make History as the Largest Chem Group
A merger that is set to make history is approaching and could be worth over $100 billion: the ChemChina-Sinochem merger. Should the move take place, current Sinochem president Qin Hengde will lead the operations in China and receive training to manage Syngenta, the global seed and agriculture China unit of ChemChina. Qin is set to replace Andrew Guthrie, a director of Syngenta who is scheduled to retire by March 31st. Over the last two years, these two mega companies have been discussing making merger moves by combining as a juggernaut agrochem business.
With the pending merger, the agrochem industry can expect ChemChina-Sinochem to be larger than DowDuPont as the largest chemical group in the world.
Weedkiller Linked to Cancer Death Causes Bayer Stock to Plummet
On March 20th, a jury in California federal court found that Bayer’s Roundup Weedkiller caused a man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is cancer that initiates in white blood cells. This is the second court case that linked the weedkiller to cancer. Bayer’s company Monsanto was found liable to pay damages for another man’s cancer who had also used the product extensively. The defendants claimed that Bayer minimized the health risk of the product, which contains glyphosate, a chemical that the World Health Organization believes to be cancerous to humans.
As a result of the verdict for the non-Hodgkin cancer case, Bayer’s stock went down by 10 percent. With these types of allegations, it’s important for agrochemical companies to prioritize transparency on consumer labels with clear information that highlights possible health risks and that demonstrates how to safely use the product.
EPA Set to Release Guidance for Plant Regulators to the Public
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 21st, 2019, that it is releasing a guide to the public that provides industry officials and interested individuals alike with direction on several regulated plant biostimulants under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Plant Regulator Label Claims will also cover what is not covered under regulation as plant regulator pesticides as well as the types of claims individuals can make. The draft is currently available in a pre-publication format for public comments.
As biostimulants continue to grow in popularity and threaten the use of agrochemical supplements, it’s important for agrochemical companies to watch the regulatory process for these types of products.
Counterfeit Pesticides Causes Real Problems
It’s not a secret that fake pesticides have flooded markets making it a challenge for agrochemical companies to establish trust among consumers. Fake agricultural products have been a core issue as many of these products are often imported. However, China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) is cracking down on counterfeit pesticides and agricultural supplies. It recently announced its campaign to eradicate substandard and fake pesticides, seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural supplies. The campaign will focus on a variety of locations that these fake products frequently appear, including agricultural supply businesses and distribution centers and rural-urban zones.
Counterfeit pesticides and other agricultural products cut into agrochemical companies’ profits and, most importantly, can pose a health risk to consumers. China’s anti-counterfeit campaign may prove as an example of increasing efforts to effectively reduce and eliminate counterfeit pesticides and agricultural products.