Latin Flavor: Agricultural Innovation
Latin America, which stretches from the Rio Grande River in the north to Tierra Del Fuego in the south, is a region as vast, varied and beautiful as any on Earth. It includes some 600 million people.
Increasingly, it is also among the fastest growing and most attractive commercial markets, as well. One of the primary drivers of that economic growth is agriculture. In the last decade alone, agricultural production across Latin America grew 250% to $47 billion.
Once a Formidable Threat
It is hard to comprehend, but tiny worms were once a most-formidable threat to that massive market. Latin America’s billions of dollars of valuable vegetables, fruit and other key crops—much of it bound for markets across the world—were once prone to the predations of an entire family of leaf-devouring, profit-chomping caterpillars known as Lepidoptera.
Old-school insecticides that once kept them in check, eventually yielded worms immune to their powers. The bugs were free to dine with impunity on soybeans, sugar cane, corn and many other valuable Latin American staples.
Today's Solution: A New Class of Insecticide
Today, however, the world continues to enjoy Latin American produce year-round thanks largely to an entirely new class of insecticide. This insecticide is no ordinary indiscriminate killer, however. This one slays only the harmful pests, sparing beneficial bugs from harm.
The product is DuPont™ Rynaxypyr®. The secret is the chemistry. Rynaxypyr was the first commercial insecticide to rely on anthranilic diamides. It was developed in the labs of DuPont scientist Dr. George Lahm, a legend in crop protection science.
Selective and Sustainable
Among its many advantages, Rynaxypyr® is a highly selective agent. It targets only Lepidoptera and a handful other pests. Best of all, however, Rynaxypyr® works in concentrations that are 20- to 30-times lower than previous insecticides.
“Any time you can kill only the worst types of pests, but do it using a fraction of the insecticide, it’s a good thing. It’s more sustainable,” says Jose Evanil da Silva, Ph. D., who is Regional Technology Director for DuPont Crop Protection.
Rynaxypyr® is now registered in at least 94 countries worldwide and approved for use on more than 400 crops. Millions of farmers across Latin America benefit from Rynaxypyr®, but the product they use is not exactly the same as in other regions. DuPont Crop Protection scientists have actually modified Rynaxypyr® to the specific species in the Latin American market.
A History of Collaboration with Growers
“DuPont has a long history and a strong record of innovation in Latin America,” DaSilva says. “We have a totally different process here than elsewhere. We hold bi-monthly meetings with influential growers to get their input to R&D and market in general. We’ve built ‘Expert Teams’ made up of researchers, universities, technicians to focus on specific crops.”
DuPont is no newcomer in the region. The company has been doing work in Mexico for 90 years. It has been in Brazil and Argentina for 78 years each. For relative late entrants, Venezuela and Colombia, DuPont has been established for over half-a-century.
“We have nurtured deep roots in the community,” DaSilva says, adding: “We seek out their opinions, but, more importantly, we listen. The result is a product as transformative as Rynaxypyr®.”