Exclusive Interview with Dr. Wendelyn Jones of DuPont

Smithers: What are the major regulatory challenges for the registration of biological biocontrol products in the US to date?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: The major regulatory challenges associated with biopesticides is the lack of harmonization of requirements for biopesticides internationally.  The EPA generally requires fewer data sets for biopesticides than for conventional pesticides.  Additionally, biopesticides may be subject to exemptions from residue tolerance levels. This exemptions from tolerance has potential to hinder global trade to regions that assign MRLs (maximum residue levels) in foodstuff.  This may reduce potential economic viability of new biopesticides, and their adoption into global crop protection strategies.   


Smithers: What are the biggest challenges are we facing regarding illegal and counterfeit products?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: Counterfeit and illegal pesticides are being produced, marketed and sold by criminals around the world. Improved access to technology and legislative loopholes facilitates the trade of counterfeit and illegal products. Estimates of the combined size of the illegal and counterfeit market exceed 6.5 billion dollars. One emerging area is the inclusion of ‘synthetic’ chemicals in products labelled as ‘biological.’   


Smithers: What challenges do you foresee 5 years down the line?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: With crop prices continuing to be volatile, and a greater interest by the value chain in crop production using biologicals, there may be more counterfeit and illegal biological products.  More samples claiming to be 'biological' on the label will, upon analysis, confirm the presence of various active ingredients in the formulations – wherein these actives are not noted on the label.


Smithers: What innovations would you like to see in the area of dealing with illegal and counterfeit products?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: Counterfeit and illegal pesticides are untested and unauthorized. They can result in yield losses for farmers, and potentially pose risks to human health and the environment. By having all of industry work with authorities and supports communication activities to raise awareness, we can help bring an end to the trade in counterfeit and illegal pesticides – including those that are labelled ‘biological’ and have hidden active ingredients. Through collaboration, we can promote Growing Right!


Smithers: Why is this event important to the agrochemical market?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: Biologicals represent a rapidly growing segment of the crop protection market with a compound annual growth rate between 15- 17%.  The 2018 AgChem Summit offers an exciting opportunity to learn from global leaders - from industry, academia, and regulatory authorities – about biologicals. 


Smithers: What does DuPont hope to achieve and what can we see happening over the next few years with regards to the future of Agchem in international markets?

Dr. Wendelyn Jones: The agriculture industry is in a period of transformation. Rapid population growth, limited resources, pest resistance and evolving consumer trends together, require innovation to progress at an equally rapid pace.

The DowDuPont™ merger has been complete since August 31, 2017, bringing together three main divisions — agriculture, materials science and specialty products. Within Corteva™ Agriscience, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™, the complementary portfolios and strengths of three separate businesses (DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection, and Dow AgroSciences) are joined for a pure play agriculture company.  We intend to bring a broader suite of products to the market, faster, so we can be even better partners to growers, meeting and exceeding their expectations for innovation and helping them to increase their productivity and profitability.

It is vital for all of us in agriculture to improve productivity in a sustainable way, with a reduced environmental footprint, and, with regulatory compliance.  The changes in the next few years make it exciting to work in agribusiness.