Agritech expands its sustainable biopesticides into Greek market

Tomatoes wrapped in boxes ready for transport

An Oxfordshire based agritech company which is developing sustainable biopesticides and plastic-free formulation technology, has announced that its commercial collaborator, USA-based Eastman Chemical Company, has received authorisation for the sale of its product Cedroz in Greece.

Cedroz, developed by Eden Research, is a bionematicide that tackles root knot nematodes, a pest that causes severe damage to crops globally, in open field and greenhouse situations.

Greece is considered an important market in the EU for the commercialisation of Cedroz, with fruit and vegetable crops accounting for nearly 20 per cent of total agriculture production. The Cedroz authorisation covers both indoor and outdoor use on a wide variety of crops, including strawberries, tomatoes, aubergine, peppers, okra, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, melon and watermelon.

Currently, 93 per cent of the glasshouse space in Greece is used for vegetable production, and produce has been in higher demand during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Athens Central Market (OKAA) reported in the peak of the crisis that wholesale prices had increased by 50 per cent in tomatoes and five per cent in cucumbers. Tomatoes are Greece’s main vegetable export, shipping to 40 countries around the world, primarily in Europe, Middle East and USA.

Over the past three years, the UK has spent approximately 22.5 million Euros on average for supplies of Greek tomato products, accounting for more than 36 per cent of the total Greek turnover of tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauces.

The demand for Cedroz stems from it being residue-free and having a zero-day pre-harvest interval, which allows for applications right up to harvest. This stands Eden’s product in good stead for inclusion in crop protection programmes that meet consumer demand for quality produce that is free from pesticide residues and intentionally added plastics.

Heightened consumer awareness about the origins and standards of the food they purchase and the presence of microplastics in the environment are clear drivers for increasing regulatory scrutiny of crop protection products. Both active ingredients used in Cedroz, geraniol and thymol, also received approval as organic inputs across the EU earlier this year.

Sean Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Eden, which recently moved from Cirencester to Milton Park, said: “The authorisation of Cedroz in Greece marks the entry into the first of our key markets in the EU. The annual production for tomatoes in Greece alone is approximately 600,000 tonnes, making it an attractive proposition for regional distributor, K&N Efthymiadis, to market and sell Cedroz. The country also has a wide range of other crops for which Cedroz is a suitable crop protection solution. Eden already has a presence in the region with its fungicide product, which is also distributed by KNE, and has recently received a label extension for Mevalone® for use on olives and tomatoes for the treatment of botrytis.”