By ROBERT TUNI and NDIRITU NJORA
Flowers and snowpeas growers in Kenya can breath a sigh of relief following the launch of VacciPlant by agricultural solutions company UPL in October
Vacciplant is a bio-fungicide with Laminarin as the active ingredient that is found in a sea weed Laminarin digitate.
This Laminarin acts in various pathways on plants by inducing the plant self-defense mechanism via stimulating plants’ immune system. This gives the Vacciplant treated plant an advantage of self-protection when the pathogen appears. By using Vacciplant, there is no any direct pressure to the pathogen reducing chances of resistance.
Having acquired Arysta Life Science early this year, UPL is now the 5th largest agrochemical company with operations in all parts of the world. The Eastern Africa sub-region offices are located in Kenya. UPL objective is offering comprehensive and innovative solutions in agriculture by offering a complete portfolio along the entire value chain.
Nicolas Crete, the Marketing Manager Expert in Biological Solution at UPL said Laminarin is recognized by the plant as a sign of attack. This activates the plants defense mechanisms known as Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR).
“Vacciplant is applied to crops before attack by powdery mildew. It boosts the natural defense mechanisms of the plant by activating three main pathways of defense which include; reinforcement of the walls, production of phytoalexins and production of PR proteins,” Mr Crete said.
He added that the systemic effect of the plant defense allows protection of newly formed parts.
Due to the fact that Laminarin acts through different pathways through the plant and not directly on the pathogen, it does not add selective pressure on the pathogen hence significantly reducing the chances of resistance.
Vacciplant should be be used in the early stages of crop development and foliar applied at a rate of 2 litres per hectare having mixed with right volumes of water for better coverage of crops. It should also be applied preventively for three consecutive applications at an interval of between 7-10 days.
Product Development Specialist at UPL, Ms Hannah Kibiru said at several trials on various varieties of roses in different regions in Kenya (Mt Kenya, Naivasha, Thika, and Nakuru) results were consistent and showing Vacciplant’s effectiveness in protecting roses against powdery mildew.
According to Innocent Arunda, the Marketing and Sales Floriculture and Horticulture Kenya, the response and attendance by Kenya agricultural sector to the launch was overwhelming providing a strong evidence of the interest in the fight against pests and diseases in crops.
Vaccipant is classified as a Class IV crop protection product and is available for the floriculture and export vegetable segments at Amiran Kenya.
“We are committed to providing innovative crop protection and life science brands, and Vacciplant is the latest pointer to where we are going”.
Vacciplant has been launched in Europe; and successfully registered in France, Belgium and Switzerland.