MustGrow Advances Natural Crop Protection Solutions - Corporate Update from CEO
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan--(Newsfile Corp. - August 6, 2020) - MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) (OTC: MGROF) (FSE: 0C0) (the "Company", "MustGrow"), an agricultural biotech company developing and commercializing a portfolio of natural, science-based biological crop protection products, is pleased to provide a corporate update for its stakeholders. For MustGrow, 2020 has been an execution story which includes key achievements for patents, crop protection and international expansion. Chief Executive Officer Corey Giasson outlines its industry landscape, recent achievements, and near-term catalysts. The agricultural industry and investment capital flow is transitioning towards sustainable, natural, biological, and environmentally friendly farming practices. With an evolving regulatory backdrop seemingly tailor-made to develop organic bio-pesticides and bio-herbicides, MustGrow is poised to capitalize in 2020.
In January, MustGrow announced the filing of key patents related to a biological non-selective bio-herbicide, a timely development, as market-leading herbicides face scrutinous legal and regulatory challenges. A series of application rate tests with Canada's National Research Council determined the applicability of MustGrow's natural mustard-derived technology as a bio-herbicide. Using multiple application methods, herbicidal control was achieved after only 72 hours - controlling the trial plants from the root up.
In May, exciting results were announced: MustGrow confirmed 100% control of Clubroot spores in 24-hours, utilizing MustGrow's signature mustard-derived liquid bio-pesticide. Of significance, the low application rate used in testing has the potential to be economic for canola growers. Clubroot is a rapidly spreading disease pathogen destroying canola, one of Canada's more profitable crops. Once a field is infested, there are no chemical control measures currently available that can eradicate Clubroot, with some field infections leading to 100% crop loss.
In June, MustGrow commenced a tobacco crop protection research program funded by the Canadian Tobacco Research Foundation to target nematodes. Nematodes are parasitic worms that infect a tobacco plant's root system with estimated annual damage of US$4.2 billion, or 15% of the global tobacco crop.
Also in June, MustGrow announced the successful importation of its bio-pesticide into Colombia to tackle the Panama Disease (Fusarium wilt TR4), a devastating disease pathogen ravaging the $25 billion global banana industry. Panama Disease is among the most destructive banana diseases, affecting particularly Cavendish bananas (half of all bananas produced). Currently, there are no effective treatments for infected banana plantations, with the disease remaining viable for decades in the soil and can cause 100% yield loss. MustGrow's bio-pesticide has shown to have 100% control strains of Fusarium and has great potential to do the same with Fusarium wilt TR4.
Potential Third Quarter Catalysts
- Bananas in Colombia: Highly anticipated initial data on the Panama Disease. South American governments and global agricultural companies have been following MustGrow's progress closely, since no chemical or biological pesticides have been able to effectively control Panama Disease.
- Non-selective bio-herbicide development progress.
- Further Canola Clubroot testing; data from greenhouse facility trials.
- Tobacco nematode test results.
- EPA regulatory process update for fruits & vegetables registration.
- Regulatory and business case analysis to continue expansion into new global geographies.
- New crop and food disease targets.
- Increasing investor engagement through investor & industry conferences and virtual roadshows.
MustGrow continues to execute on its vision to develop safe and effective biological crop protection bio-pesticides and bio-herbicides to displace potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. With ~$2.8 million cash in treasury, MustGrow is well-funded to execute current priorities. COVID-19 has not had any meaningful impact on the third-party facilities MustGrow engages to conduct research and testing work.
A Rare Alignment of Regulatory & Industry Mandates
The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") promotes and encourages the use of safer pesticides, including bio-pesticides, requiring much less data to register a bio-pesticide than to register a conventional pesticide. In Europe, the European Commission is seeking to halve the use of chemical pesticides by 2030.
Some widely-used synthetic chemicals continue to be banned or deregistered globally. In 2018, France's health safety watchdog ordered a ban on products containing metam sodium. Chlorpyrifos, one of the world's most widely-used chemical pesticides, is under review by the EPA after a federal ban was proposed in 2015. Chlorpyrifos use has been banned in California & Hawaii, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom (with exception). In February 2020, Corteva (2019 spin-off from DowDuPont) announced its intention to stop producing chlorpyrifos.
Leading agriculture companies, including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Louis Dreyfus Company, and FMC Corporation have recently announced venture capital programs to fund early-stage technologies focused on bio-pesticide & bio-herbicide crop protection and environmentally sustainable innovations. Top crop chemical company Bayer AG aims to cut the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent by 2030 as part of its own sustainability goals. Increasingly, large ag-chemical companies have active mandates to partner, license or acquire biological crop protection products that are both safe & effective. MustGrow's patented mustard-derived products have consistently demonstrated efficacious benefits similar to chemistry-based synthetic chemical products without the harmful safety profile often associated with these chemical products.
Investment Capital Flow
Access to information has empowered consumer choice. Consumers are increasingly casting 'votes' through spending habits - choosing which products and companies to support. The mainstream rise of organic food consumption, plant-based protein, pesticide-free produce and non-GMO products are not merely 'trends' - these are transformational shifts in how food is grown and consumed... an agricultural metamorphosis. The interest in bio-pesticides is increasing as farmers, consumers and investors seek 'natural biological' alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides. The surge of environmental, sustainability and governance funds ("ESG") exemplifies this transformation. As with consumers buying more organic products, investment capital is flowing into ESG funds and companies with ESG features. In 2019, net capital flows into ESG funds smashed previous records, totalling US$21 billion in the U.S. (four times 2018 net inflows). European inflows into sustainable funds topped €120 billion (double 2018).
As consumers, regulators and investors demand a natural, healthier and safer food supply, leading agriculture companies are heavily investing in alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides. Natural bio-pesticides will need to fill the void. Adverse global climate and weather events are expected to negatively impact food supply for a growing human population. Warmer temperatures are expected to increase pest infestations and with more pests there will be more damage to crops. In addition, as the world population and its affluence increase, protein-rich diets place higher stress on crop production and the planet - a planet with finite productive land. Safe and effective bio-pesticides will be critical for future food security and environmentally sustainable agriculture. Research firm Markets and Markets sees the global bio-pesticide market size doubling to US$8.5 billion by 2025.
I encourage shareholders, prospective shareholders, and other stakeholders to contact me directly if you wish to further understand the strategies we've deployed to achieve our primary goals: accelerate MustGrow's remarkably safe & effective crop protection products while maximizing shareholder value.
MustGrow is a publicly traded (CSE: MGRO) (OTC: MGROF) agriculture biotech company focused on providing natural science-based biological solutions for high value crops, including fruits & vegetables. MustGrow has designed and owns a United States EPA-approved natural solution that uses the mustard seed's natural defence mechanism to protect plants from pests and diseases. Over 110 independent tests have been completed, validating MustGrow's safe and effective signature products. The product, in granule format, is EPA-approved across all key U.S. states and by Health Canada's PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) as a bio-pesticide for high value crops such as in fruit & vegetables. MustGrow has now concentrated a liquid format that with regulatory approval, could be applied through standard drip or spray equipment, improving functionality and performance features.
The Company has approximately 37 million basic common shares issued and outstanding. For further details please visit www.mustgrow.ca.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Director & CEO
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These risks are described in more detail in MustGrow's Prospectus and other continuous disclosure documents filed by MustGrow with the applicable securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com. Readers are referred to such documents for more detailed information about MustGrow, which is subject to the qualifications, assumptions and notes set forth therein.
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