May 14, 2024

Bioinsecticide approved for emergency use on tomatoes in third EU country

A Vestaron bioinsecticide targeting tomato leafminer is now approved for use in three EU countries after Cyprus granted growers emergency access.

Tuta absoluta infestations can cause substantial yield and economic losses for farmers across the Mediterranean region of Europe, according to a news release from Durham, North Carolina-based Vestaron. The Republic of Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment authorized emergency use of SPEAR LEP on tomatoes from May 2 to Aug. 29.

SPEAR LEP targets other lepidopteran pests including navel orangeworm, European grapevine moth, codling moth, loopers and caterpillars. Its mode of action (IRAC group 32) is derived from naturally occurring peptides in spider venom and produced through natural fermentation processes.

“Cyprus’s decision reflects the urgent need for innovative solutions in agriculture to address evolving challenges,” Juan Estupinan, Vestaron CEO and president, said in the release. “Vestaron is committed to providing farmers with effective, sustainable tools that safeguard both crop health and environmental well-being.”

Cyprus joins Italy and Greece in granting emergency use authorization for SPEAR LEP.

“We heard from grower groups across the Mediterranean region about their need for a product such as ours and we’re so pleased we can bring SPEAR LEP to them presently through the emergency use authorization,” Estupinan said. “Our ongoing efforts include seeking full approval from the European Commission, underscoring our dedication to delivering cutting-edge crop protection solutions.”

six bright red tomatoes joined at the green stems
© inspirestock, 123RF Free Images

Testing across Europe has demonstrated SPEAR LEP’s efficacy against target pests under various conditions, including populations resistant to conventional insecticide, according to the release.

SPEAR LEP has no known resistance or cross-resistance with synthetic pesticides and presents minimal risk to people, pollinators and beneficials as determined by USA EPA and Canadian PMRA regulatory approvals. It has gained traction in the U.S. since 2020, with subsequent approvals in Mexico and Canada.

Premier Shukuroglou Cyprus Ltd., a distributor with in-house agronomy service, submitted a request in February for an emergency use authorization on behalf of Cypriot tomato growers.

“Having access to effective measures of biological origin such as SPEAR LEP is vital to helping producers overcome resistance, supporting production profitability while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment,” Kyriakos Orphanides, technical manager of Premier Shukuroglou Cyprus, said.

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