Mar 11, 2020Bee Vectoring Technologies has new growers for West Coast expansion
Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. on March 11 announced that it has closed three new grower deals with berry producers in Oregon and Washington states.
According to a news release, these new customers will use BVT’s proprietary bee delivery system, Vectorite with CR-7, on portions of their blueberry and raspberry crops in the upcoming growing season. The landmark deals extend the Company’s commercial reach into the U.S. West Coast, building on the strong momentum it has seen with southeast-based growers.
“We are excited to be expanding into this new region,” said Ashish Malik, CEO of Bee Vectoring Technologies. “These initial grower commitments align with our growth strategy starting with initial market penetration, moving to customer retention and expansion. We’ve now successfully penetrated the U.S. Southeast blueberry market, the Pacific Northwest blueberry and raspberry markets, and the Florida strawberry market and anticipate this strong commercial momentum continuing in coming seasons.”
The new deals also mark another important breakthrough: the first commercial use of BVT’s recently announced patent-pending computer-controlled honeybee hive dispenser system. In the western US, only honeybees are currently used for commercial pollination since bumble bees are currently not allowed in western USA and Canada. The honeybee hive dispenser thus matches specific market demands and allows BVT to address 100% of the US market. The newly contracted growers produce blueberries, raspberries and blackberries across the western US region.
The company’s system is in the market at the right time. There is a significant need for alternative plant protection products for berry crops as there is increasing evidence that the efficacy of traditional fungicides is declining. Data presented at the 2019 Washington Blueberry Show from Washington State University documented resistance even with newer classes of fungicide chemistry throughout the production areas tested.(1) Similar data was presented by Michigan State University.
BVT’s natural precision agriculture system uses commercially-reared bees to carry its organic and natural plant protection product, Vectorite with CR-7, directly to blooms throughout the day and continuously for the full bloom period. Traditional spraying is done periodically and disease pressure can build in between spraying applications. CR-7 provides a new class of all-natural fungicide as an additional tool to be applied throughout the bloom period to enhance disease management and enhance high-yield production. BVT’s CR-7 also has Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) approval for organic production and is exempt from residue tolerance testing, making it an ideal tool for both conventional and organic berry growers.
The Pacific Northwest growers are first-time users of the BVT system and will pilot BVT on a percentage (60 to 80 acres out of a combined 1,800 acres) of their conventional and organic crops. Based on common practice, there is an expectation that they will add BVT across their entire operations in the coming two to three seasons based on positive results. The next blueberry season in Oregon and Washington starts with the blooming period in April 2020, when the BVT system is used, continuing until spring/summer harvest. BVT is actively pursuing further grower contracts in the lead up to this season commencing.
“Historically, growers start by using BVT on 10-20% of their acreage, and gradually progress to 100%,” said Malik. “Our strategy is to choose influential growers, because their pilot seasons are highly visible to other producers. So in addition to the initial 60 to 80 acres that can expand to 1,800 acres in future seasons, other growers will take notice and adopt the BVT system in the future, which will increase our market share through new customer acquisition as well as boosting BVT’s share of wallet with its initial growers.”
“The blueberry market in the US is significant, representing about one third of global production at 270,000(2) acres. The Pacific Northwest and Southeastern regions together have a combined 60,000(3) acres of cultivated highbush blueberries, representing two-thirds of the 90,000(4) acre US market,” said Mr. Malik. “For BVT, this represents a major new market for the upcoming growing season and a large growth opportunity in future growing seasons. There is high market demand for Pacific Northwest berries domestically and overseas, with a large export market to Asia in both fresh pack and frozen berries.”
Many West Coast blueberry growers have also expanded into raspberries and blackberries, and there is the potential for them to use BVT’s system on those crops as well. Within the US, Oregon is the biggest producer of blackberries with 6,500(5) acres, and Washington is the biggest producer of raspberries with 9,500(6) acres.
The company also announced that it intends to seek TSX Venture Exchange (“Exchange”) approval to extend the expiry date of an aggregate of 12,000,000 warrants previously issued on March 28, 2018 and exercisable at $0.35 per share by one year.
The particulars of the proposed extension to the terms of the warrants are as follows:
12,000,000 warrants issued on March 28, 2018 with an exercise price of $0.35 per share, which are due to expire on March 28, 2020, will be extended to March 28, 2021.
The warrant term expiry date extension is subject to Exchange approval.
(1) Source: APS Publications, https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/full/10.1094/PDIS-02-16-0229-RE
(2) Source: FAO, United Nations, 2017 Statistics
(3)(4) (5)(6) Source: USDA, 2018 Agricultural Statistics Annual
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 65 granted patents, over 35 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.
Additional information can be viewed at the company’s website www.beevt.com.
A Washington state commercial blueberry field that has trialed BVT’s natural precision agriculture system. Photo: BVT