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Lighter Touch collaboration makes good sense

Published on 02/08/2021

And that’s been a fairly common reaction when Corteva has shared confirmation of its newly-inked seven year investment in the big pan-sector program known as A Lighter Touch.

“We do often get questioned about our involvement, because on the face of it A Lighter Touch could be perceived as seeming to go against crop protection,” says New Zealand marketing manager Glen Surgenor.

“But we don’t see it like that. Our strategic direction as a company is to develop and launch solutions that support the transition to these types of programmes.

“Natural products are not new to us either with over 20 years’ experience in research and discovery of these compounds, like Entrust Naturalyte, the organically certified naturally derived insecticide and Questar with Inatreq active, the recently launched cereal fungicide derived from a natural compound.”

Finalised in April, the new partnership between Corteva and A Lighter Touch was 12 months in the making and will see the company supporting the programme with research expertise, chemistry and other resources.

Surgenor says the NZ Corteva team has been keen to be more closely involved since project manager Dr Stephen Ogden first approached the company.

“As soon as we saw what they were trying to achieve, it made a lot of sense for us to get on board.”

Started in April 2020, A Lighter Touch is a government-backed programme aimed at developing new sustainable crop growing and protection methods to reduce chemical use and boost arable and horticulture production. MPI, through SFF Futures, is contributing close to $11 million over the life of the project, with over $16 million of funding from industry.

Horticulture NZ leads the programme, and is working with Zespri, Foundation for Arable Research, Bragato Research Institute, Vegetables NZ, Citrus NZ and several other producer groups, plus Syngenta and Corteva. Glen Surgenor says the project’s goals align with Corteva’s own direction in several important areas.

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