|Interview with Shay Shaanan – STK|
|September 27, 2018|
Shay Shaanan– Assistant CEO for Technological Business Development, STK bio-ag technologies
In recent years the public’s awareness of environmental and food quality is on the rise. Concurrently, prevailing regulations adopted in Western, as well other countries, limit import of agricultural produce, demanding that it be pest-free as well as pesticide free.
Consumers long for the old familiar tomato flavor or the cherished cucumber flavor s from childhood.
The flavors of these vegetables have changed due to widespread use of hybrid (GMO) seeds, developed by seed companies to increase yields and cope with rising costs, as well as a way to combat diseases and insect pests.
As time passed, it became clear that the plants had lost not only their taste but their self-defense capacity had also been harmed. Plants, like other living organisms, maintain built-in defense mechanisms against diseases, but genetic engineering has weakened them greatly, creating “pampered” plants.
Years ago, STK already understood prevailing market trends and the need to discover biological solutions that would eventually constitute an alternative to use of generic chemical pesticides. According to Shay Shaanan, STK Assistant CEO for business technological R & D, “We take plants from Nature that have been endowed with a developed immune system, create from them a biological extract, and give it to the “pampered” plant. The extract activates the plant’s immune system, and it becomes more resistant”.
Use of this extract has further advantages. For example, its influence was reflected in vineyards by increased fructose, and in the changed color of the cluster’s grapes, i.e., ripening was uniform, thereby decreasing the number of harvests and enabling an earlier start. Thus, the farmer saves on labor costs. In addition, STK’s extract based products, unlike older products, provide a comprehensive rather than uni-dimensional solution.
TIMOREX GOLD for Grapes
The plant extract manufacturing process is lengthy, and includes locating the appropriate plant, growing it, producing the extract, and adapting it to agricultural use. Although this is a long and very expensive process, STK does not hold back on resources for producing the most excellent products.
Many countries worldwide have understood the need and potential concealed in creation of extracts from wild plants, but they concentrate mostly on bacteria generating processes, and transition to the plant extract field is quite complex for them. Undoubtedly, STK brings a different approach.
Recently, more and more chemical producers have understood the importance of STK products, and entered into cooperation with STK. “Since the extract contains different molecules, there is greater response,” explains Shay , emphasizing that TImorex Gold – the most widely known STK biological product,used in over 30 countries worldwide – leads this area by any international standard.
An additional area of STK’s activity is combining innovative biological products with known chemical pesticides, creating an easy-to-use ‘hybrid’ fungicide, called REGEV. REGEV is used by farmers exactly the same way as their current chemical fungicides. There is no mixing , because REGEV is a pre-mix. No rotating between chemical and biological products, because REGEV combines the two into one easy-to-use hybrid fungicide. REGEV provides growers who have never even tried a biological product the easiest opportunity to do so.
Growers can sharply lower their chemical residues, effectively combat resistance , increase their yields and enjoy much more competitive crops from a consumer and regulatory point-of-view, both domestically and internationally. REGEV works for the broadest range of crops, including fruits and vegetables, row crops and even broad acre or field crops.
STK REGEV for Wheat
STK identified this approach as a business opportunity, enabling it to influence what’s happening in agriculture worldwide. The introduction of hybrid products enables the slow but sure transition from chemical pesticides to green pest control. Looking forward, STK identifies the potential for advanced agriculture, first and foremost in the US, and then in Europe as well.
The complexity of the European licensing system somewhat delays penetration into that market, but launching of its products on the Continent is already expected to take place in 2022.
Introduction of products obligates STK staff to meet the farmers on the ground, to prove to them practically the advantage yielded by use of advanced products, and to create demand for the distributors. The farmers who merits instruction by company staff members realizes that they do not need to use as much of the new bio-pesticides and hybrid products as with their old chemical pesticides.
These growers are happy to respond to market demand to supply products with sharply lower or no chemical residues at all.
As noted, farmers in the world’s developed countries are already more open and more attuned to the voices arising in this field, and to the rules and restrictions of regulatory agencies, so that they assist along the road to assimilating the improvements presented by STK on the road to green, healthy agriculture.