With the improvement of the public's awareness of environmental protection and food safety, chemical pesticides are facing strict regulations, and people are calling for safe and effective biopesticides. The global biocontrols market has been increasing rapidly from a million dollar market to a multibillion market during the past two decades, and data from Dunham Trimmer LLC showed that the global biopesticide market size was over 3 billion USD in 2018. About China, according to CCM’s research, over 260 enterprises were involved in the production and sale of biopesticides, and the annual output value was over USD447.71 million in 2016, about 10% of the national output value. To further accelerate the development of the whole biopesticide industry, recently, the Ministry of Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as MOA), together with the Ministry of Finance, promulgated a series of preferential policies to promote the registration, development, and use of biopesticides.
Lowering the R&D cost
Research and development of new pesticides is a high-cost and difficult task. To promote the R&D of biopesticides, the MOA and the Ministry of Finance promise to reduce and exempt tax to lower the R&D cost. Over the past year, China has continuously cut the VAT rate, and the pesticide tax rate has been reduced from 13% to 9%. Furthermore, the R&D expenses are entitled to a 75% super deduction for Chinese Corporate Income Tax purpose. At the same time, through setting up national key R&D projects and promoting cooperation between enterprises and research institutions, the Chinese government supports enterprises and research institutions to undertake more R&D activities.
Implementing financial subsidies
The high price of biopesticides is an important factor which restricts biopesticides’ application in China. Now the Chinese government is dedicated to reducing the financial burden on farmers by offering financial subsidies. For example, the Chinese central government has earmarked 800 million yuan annually for the prevention of plant disease and elimination of pests, with a focus on unified control and green control initiatives. In terms of promoting low-toxicity biopesticides, a special fund of 10 million yuan is allocated annually from the MOA. Meanwhile, local governments are actively raising funds to support green control. For example, Jiangsu Province allocates 50 million yuan annually as the financial assistance for the use of biopesticides, and Jilin Province invests nearly 90 million yuan annually in controlling corn borer by Trichogramma and promoting the application of biological control of crop diseases and pests, the financial subsidies for organic pest and disease control for vegetables and rice from the Shanghai municipal government and district governments are 910 Yuan and 485 Yuan per acre respectively.
Promoting the awareness
Another policy to promote the use of biopesticides is conducting more field demonstrations. Field demonstration is an effective way to raise farmer awareness about new options, and as a result, farmers may seek more information about biopesticides if they wish to try them. At the same time, farmers will get some applied knowledge in the use of biological pesticides, which is very helpful to maximize field effectiveness. China has started to set up 600 field demonstration bases of integrated and green pests and diseases control since 2016, and 150 counties have been designated as the pilot zone to implement green control in fruits, vegetables and tea. As a result, the coverage rate of green control in staple crops reached 29.4% in 2018, which was 9.4% higher than the coverage rate in 2014.
Simplifying the registration
To encourage the registration of biopesticides, the MOA generally requires fewer data to register a biopesticide and the test cycle is much shorter than that of a conventional chemical pesticide. For example, botanical pesticides, microbial pesticides, and sex attractants (a kind of biochemical pesticide) are exempted from residue tests. With regard to Eco-toxicity study, the formulation of botanical pesticides, microbial pesticides, and biochemical pesticides are exempted from 4 tests, 7 tests, and 8 tests respectively compared with the formulation of chemical pesticides, and no environmental trials required for sex attractants. On top of that, field efficacy trials for biopesticides only take one year, which is one year shorter than that of chemical pesticides, and the registration fee is less as well. In addition, the MOA will gradually establish a green channel to further accelerate the process of biopesticide registration.
Within the following years, the MOA will take more steps to gradually replace chemical pesticides with biopesticides, and increase the promotion of R&D, registration, and application of biopesticides.