China’s Abamectin Manufacturers Face a Challenge on Disabling Onitment
As an efficient and broad-spectrum antibiotic insecticide and miticide, abamectin has achieved a big success in rice promotion since 2007, which has won widespread recognition. Because of its excellent performance in the control of rice stem borer and cnaphalocrocis medinalis, it is rapidly becoming a new alternative to highly toxic pesticides. For the past two years, due to fewer pests and the impact of “Four Pesticides” such as Coragen and Daoteng, abamectin consumption has declined but still ranked the first in the pesticides market. Insiders from abamectin manufacturers estimate that even excluding emamectin benzoate series, abamectin occupies at least about 40% share of Chinese pesticide market.
In fact, abamectin products are not first developed by Chinese. In the international market, abamectin is very extensive use too. There is not practice to replace the original drug with ointment to dispense preparations in the international market. However, why Chinese practice it? An insider said, as a low toxicity and efficient bio-pesticide, abamectin is expensive so that it is initially regarded as “precious medicine” for the flowers and other high-end cash crops. Since 2007, after a lot of promotion and use in rice, by-products ointment has been used as the original drug to dispense emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations in order to reduce production costs. Since then, abamectin has really become the biopesticide that most farmers can afford to pay.
This practice has been recognized by the majority of insiders. In their opinions, there are two advantages of replacing the fine powder with ointment. On the one hand, the ointment is better than fine powder in insecticide efficacy; on the other hand, in the dispensing of EC formulations, the cost is far below that of fine powder because the ointment itself contains a lot of organic solvents. This shows that the biggest benefit of the practice is to reduce cost of abamectin products, which is the main reason why enterprises replace fine powder with ointment to dispense EC.
Although abamectin ointment is so contributed, some insiders still question its effects on safety and environmental protection. Today, the ointment is investigated and mothballed in storage. Then, whether the ointment will follow in the footsteps of glyphosate mother liquid and be disabled?
Ointment and glyphosate mother liquor are not comparable. Because abamectin is mainly used by the spray pattern with very small effect on the soil, ointment is less likely to be disabled. If ointment is disabled, the production cost of abamectin products will greatly increase and result in the price increase. Meanwhile, emamectin benzoate as “upgraded version of abamectin” is bound to have a price increase, which would increase farmers’ use costs. In addition, powerful impact of “Four Pesticides” will reduce abamectin price performance. The end result is bound to make abamectin market share rapidly shrink, while “Four Pesticides” take the opportunity to occupy more market share.
It is understood that 1.8% abamectin EC cost about 10 yuan per mu (= 0.0667 hectare) while Coragen cost about 18 yuan per mu currently. If EC’s price goes up, Coragen’s price goes down by contrast. Then, abamectin products will lose low-cost advantage. Suppliers said that the efficacy of ointment is better than that of fine powder; it will decrease the efficacy of abamectin products, but also greatly reduce the price performance if disabled. Since whether hazards exist in the abamectin ointment have been unable to confirm, and ointment treatment technology and equipment are universal problems of fermentation process, Chinese insiders generally believe that ointment disabled is less likely.