HB4 trait increases wheat yields by up to 20%
HB4 is world's only drought tolerance technology for wheat and soybean crops
Major technology milestone in global wheat value chain and related carbon emissions
Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. ("Bioceres" or the "Company") (NYSE:BIOX), a fully-integrated provider of crop productivity solutions designed to enable the transition of agriculture towards carbon neutrality, announced today that Argentina's Ministry of Agriculture has granted approval of the Company's HB4 Wheat ‘event' for growth and consumption. Argentina is Latin America´s largest wheat producer and the world's first country to adopt HB4 drought tolerance technology for this staple crop.
The country's regulatory clearance follows approval of HB4 Soybean, which has been approved in other major production geographies, including the US and Brazil which, together with Argentina, represent nearly 80% of the world's total soybean acreage. Commercialization of HB4 Wheat in Argentina is contingent upon import approval in Brazil, which purchases just over 85% of its wheat from Argentina. Currently, regulatory processes for HB4 Wheat also continue advancing in the US, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Bioceres intends to initiate regulatory processes in Australia and Russia as well as certain countries in Asia and Africa.
Drought-tolerant HB4 Wheat is a patented seed technology developed by Trigall Genetics, Bioceres' joint venture with Florimond Desprez, a global leader in wheat genetics. In field trials conducted during the last 10 years, HB4 seed varieties increased wheat yields by 20%, on average, during growing seasons impacted by droughts. The incidence of drought has been increasing in frequency, as climate change worsens across the world, affecting the stability of agricultural ecosystems. In addition to mitigating production losses during drought conditions, HB4 also facilitates double cropping, which seasonally rotates soy and wheat, an environmentally friendly farming system that is otherwise limited by water availability. When combined with soil regenerative practices, such as no-till farming, a share cropping system made possible by HB4 seeds captures more carbon than conventional growing practices. For each acre farmed per year, the resulting sequestration is equivalent to two months of carbon emitted by an automobile. Substantially higher crop yields through HB4 also reduce the need to expand agriculture's global footprint, while aiding in the reversion of fragile agricultural land back to native ecosystems.
Mr. Federico Trucco, Chief Executive Officer of Bioceres, said, "Approval of our HB4 Wheat in Argentina represents a groundbreaking milestone for the entire global value chain of this important crop, given the substantial yield increases and significant environmental benefits that our technology offers. Sixteen years ago we began collaborating with Dr. Raquel Chan of CONICET and other scientists who discovered the sunflower gene that is the backbone of our HB4 technology. Since 2009, field trials of HB4 Wheat have been underway, and since 2013 Bioceres and Florimond Desprez have invested aggressively in breeding and Phase II regulatory activities. Substantial time, resources and effort have been behind today's announcement, which would not have been possible without the trust of our fellow shareholders, the unwavering support of our partners, and the strong conviction of the broader team engaged throughout the process. Yet, this is just the beginning of a monumental quest to transform wheat production systems globally, for the benefit of growers and consumers alike."
Mr. Trucco added, "Our EcoWheat® and EcoSoy® products will enable food production companies and retailers the opportunity to offer consumers foods that are carbon neutral, in addition to other environmental benefits they increasingly desire. Importantly, our HB4 technology does not translate into higher costs for consumers, making sustainable foods widely accessible."
HB4 is integrated with top-selling wheat germplasms and branded as EcoWheat®, which combines other Bioceres biotechnologies, such as Rizoderma®, a biofungicide, among other health and growth promoting microorganisms contained in the Company's integrated seed products. In preparation for the commercial launch of EcoWheat, approximately 17,300 acres (7,000 hectares) of different varieties have been planted by participating growers during the Company's latest ramp-up cycle of seed inventories, as previously announced. This process continues to employ robust, closed growing systems that are combined with a high level of traceability through state-of-the-art digital farming technologies and strong stewardship, to ensure environmentally friendly farming practices.
For more information about Bioceres' HB4 technology and related products, please refer to the Company's HB4 white paper at: https://investors.biocerescrops.com/events-and-presentations/default.aspx