Corteva to stop chlorpyrifos production

Corteva Agriscience will phase out the production of the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, this year. The company calls it a strategic business decision as demand for the active ingredient has declined “significantly” over the last two decades, particularly in the US. Chlorpyrifos is licensed for use on more than 50 crops, including almonds, apples, citrus, and grapes. The EPA estimates that US farmers uses some 5 million pounds (2.26 million kg) per year of the insecticide. Phillips McDougall estimates global sales for chlorpyrifos at $625 million in 2018.
Corteva says that its customers will have access to enough chlorpyrifos supply to cover current demand until the end of the year, while they transition to other products or other providers. The company points out that its customers and shareholders will benefit from the redeployment of its resources.
Corteva revealed plans last year that half of its crop protection sales would comprise proprietary or differentiated products by 2023. The remainder will be made up of sales of off-patent products, which accounted for over three-quarters (76%) of sales in 2018. The company acknowledged at the time that it was not the best owner for some of its portfolio and was evaluating potential divestitures.

Chlorpyrifos has been at the centre of much controversy and legal wrangling within the US in the last few years. The EPA under the Trump administration has been pushing back against pressure from some states and environmental groups to ban the insecticide. Last July, the EPA again refused to ban chlorpyrifos, concluding that the science around the potential health risks was unresolved and did not warrant pulling the insecticide from the market. Although the EPA had said that further evaluation of the science was warranted, it contended that that review could be completed over the course of the registration review process for chlorpyrifos, which the Agency expects to be finished by 2022.
The state of California has been meanwhile moving towards a ban on the ai. Last October, pesticide manufacturers agreed to stop selling chlorpyrifos products in California. The move abandoned an effort to contest the state’s impending ban. The agreement put the state on course to effectively ban use of the chlorpyrifos by December 31st 2020.

Chlorpyrifos is being phased out in the EU with member states having been asked to withdraw product approvals by February 16th and any grace periods to use existing stocks to expire by April 16th. (source:  Agrow)

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