SAN JOSE, Calif., U.S. — Crop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable agrochemical products for enhancing crop yields, has successfully completed an initial field demonstration pilot with Cargill to validate the effectiveness of its sustainable technology for yield enhancement.
The conclusion of this demonstration pilot is an important step for Cargill — one of the world’s largest cocoa processors — towards attaining its sustainability objectives defined in the Cargill Cocoa Promise, and confirms excitement by cocoa growers for an effective solution to their long-standing production challenges.
The demonstration was conducted with leading cocoa growers in Cargill’s grower network in Sulawesi, Indonesia, a primary producing region in the largest Asian cocoa production geography (consisting of 1.5 million hectares) for this key ingredient of cocoa and chocolate.
Over the course of two crop seasons, the pilot established that Crop Enhancement’s CropCoat® technology enables growers to mitigate the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and reduce farm labor required for agrochemical spray applications – key economic and sustainability drivers for the cocoa industry.
Based on positive grower experiences and feedback during the trials, Crop Enhancement and Cargill are defining next steps to scale the engagement in order to introduce the use of CropCoat to its larger grower base in Indonesia.
“The demo farmers with whom we worked reported that CropCoat improved the health of cocoa pods and transformed how they farm cocoa,” said Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement.
“CropCoat saved these growers both time and energy by requiring far fewer applications compared with conventional insecticide treatments. In addition to the potential for prosperity that this new approach offers, it meets grower and consumer desire for sustainable farming practices.”
“This effective solution helps Indonesian cocoa growers improve productivity of their farms as well as supports farmer livelihood, which is why our collaboration with Crop Enhancement is so important,” said Niels Boetje, managing director Asia Pacific, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.
“This successful demonstration builds on Cargill’s long-term commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. At the same time, it will help us to secure a long-term supply of quality cocoa for our business.”
Beyond yield and profit increase, CropCoat delivers to growers the added benefits of requiring fewer spray applications, having a strong worker health and safety profile, and enabling sustainable integrated pest management (IPM).
Crop Enhancement’s products target major fruit and vegetable crops worldwide across regions that include North America, Southeast Asia, Greater China, Latin America, and Africa.
To boost crop yields in these regions, Crop Enhancement has developed proprietary films and formulations that modify plant surfaces (leaves, stems, fruit, and seeds) to improve their resistance to pests and diseases while reducing the need for synthetic pesticides or pesticide applications.
Crop Enhancement’s formulations can also be applied with agricultural inputs such as nutrients, fertilizers and other active ingredients, enabling farmers to reduce costs and increase crop yields.