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H2020

VIOTRAP Report Summary

Project ID: 711486

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VIOTRAP (Elaboration of an Innovative Eco-Friendly Pest Control Method in European Agriculture)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

BACKGROUND & RATIONALE
Fruit production in EU-28, accounts for 7% of total agricultural output value , amounting to a producer value of approximately EUR 25 billion in 2014 . The sector employs directly at least 0,60 million persons. If wine grapes and olives production is also taken into account, total output value is estimated at EUR 42 billion and total employment at 3,0 – 3,5 million persons (full-time equivalent) . The above turnover and employment takes place mostly in European rural areas, thus significantly contributing to rural income and regional development. At the same time, the sector is a nodal component of the EU food and drink sector supply chain, which generates 15% of EU employment and 7% of EU GDP.
The European Fruit Production sector faces numerous structural challenges, in particular related to production efficiency disparities within the EU, overall product competitiveness, as well as increased fruit imports, which have become a cornerstone of EU Development & Cooperation Policy. However, key risk factors affecting fruit production volume, quality and pricing are weather conditions and insects, notably Diptera.
In this context, DAKOFAKA – EVRIKLIS FITSAKIS operates in the bio-pesticides market since 2000. The firm has developed and patented an innovative method for mitigation of Dacus (i.e. an insect infecting olive trees), branded VIOTRAP D.
VIOTRAP D is based on the insect’s trophotropism as well as on its attractiveness to humidity, with the outer color being an extra feature of attractiveness for Dacus and deltamethrine used as the insecticide substance. Viotrap D is fully compatible with the Regulation 834/07 of the European Union for organic farming and has proven to be an excellent way for Dacus control, even in years with high populations of the insect.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES
To—date, there are strong indications suggesting that the VIOTRAP concept is highly effective not only for control of Dacus but also for control of other harmful Diptera species, such as C. capitata and D. suzukii., which are considered globally among the most harmful pest to global fruit production.
More specifically, main project objectives comprise the expansion of the technology currently used for mitigation and control of B. Olea, in order to be exploited for the control of other harmful Diptera species, such as C. capitata and D. suzukii.
In effect, through VIOTRAP project, Dakofaka traps attempt to introduce a novel alternative to plants spraying, as a means of pest control in European and Global farming, covering at least the above Diptera species.
Successful attainment of the above objectives is considered to possess huge potential (both economic and environmental) for pest control in European and global farming, as can be justified from factors as:
-the vast damages caused to agricultural production by the above target insects,
-the constantly intensifying and widening consumer awareness for safer non-sprayed, organic products,
-the proved effectiveness of the product in all cases where it has been applied, coupled with
-its full compliance and compatibility with the principles of organic farming and the IOBC guidelines on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
In order to achieve the above objectives, DAKOFAKA – EVRIKLIS FITSAKIS elaborated an analytical Feasibility Study, the purpose of which, is to assess the technical, operational and economic feasibility for the application of an innovative eco-friendly pest control concept targeting diptera insects (i.e. insects with high economic impact) on European and wider international fruit production.

PROJECT CONCLUSION
Analysis pointed out a particularly favourable environment for development of VIOTRAP concept, both on technical and economic terms.

On technical terms, the concept presents a unique combination of positive advantages, such as:
-100% organic farming compatibility,
-absence of any adverse effects to beneficial insects,
-maximum usage safety, as well as
-zero residue levels on treated fruit crops,
combined with a harmful insects’ control efficiency standing at 98-99%.

On financial terms, analysis has identified a series of equally positive advantages, such as:
-the ability to market VIOTRAP products at significant lower costs from existing alternatives,
-an enormous marketability potential, in particular if existing institutional framework concerning the use of pesticides and relative customer preferences are taken into account,
-the maturity of the solution, which implies that institutional limitations associated with licensing can be reasonably met.
Furthermore, analysis has pointed out that the prospect of widening the VIOTRAP concept is expected to have a clearly positive impact not only for the company and its dependents (customers, personnel and suppliers), but also for rural communities and the EU as a whole

Yet, analysis has also pointed out that in order to achieve its objectives and produce the desired impact, the company needs to be engaged in an enormous – if compared to its current business size – investment effort.

As a result, a critical issue that needs to be taken under consideration within the business plan and feasibility analysis of the company is the exploration of alternative solutions for gaining access to adequate project financing resources.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

CONTENT OF WORK
VIOTRAP Feasibility Analysis incorporated two tasks:
- Task 1: Technical Feasibility Analysis (TFA):
Within the context of TFA, important technical aspects of the project WERE analysed and assessed, mainly through the design of experimental research and pilot applications. In particular, within TFA, extensive field studies, covering main technical & technological parameters embedded in VIOTRAP Technology (e.g. quantities, colours, distances, etc.), as well as their optimum values for maximum control of selected insect species, were implemented.
Furthermore, within the context of TFA, an analytical roadmap was laid down, encompassing anticipated technical steps and procedures for industrial readiness and maturity.
- Task 2: Business Plan (BP):
Within the context of BP, the non-technical parameters associated to the exploitation of the available technology were examined, such as institutional (e.g. licensing issues and procedures, regulations and guidelines on organic farming, international IPR protection, etc.), market-related issues (e.g. mapping of existing and potential demand, assessment of existing and anticipated competition, examination of marketing environment), operational (e.g. production processes, sales networks and distribution channels, supporting activities), organisational (e.g. management of resources, innovation management, project management, quality assurance, risk management, etc.), business & marketing (e.g. pricing policies & branding) and economic (e.g. estimation of necessary investment and operational costs, assessment of profitability, sensitivity analysis, examination of project financing needs and associated issues or limitations, etc.).

PROJECT RESULTS
Task 1: Technical Feasibility analysis
Sub-task 1.1.: VIOTRAP solution efficacy assessment
The company implemented targeted pilot applications, which resulted to the identification of technical specifications for VIOTRAP F, as follows:
Attractant protein based gel mixture
Trap colour Yellow
Trap density 120-200 traps/ha
Quantity of the attractant 165-170 mL
Insecticide solution 0.125 g/Kg deltamethrin
Trap size 19.5 X 14 cm
Trap materials Three layers, paper, polyester and polyethylene
Meteorological limitations Exposure to direct sunlight, rainfall above 200 mm
Conclusion of the above R&D activities constitute a significant milestone for VIOTRAP Project, since through the above experimentation, it became evident that VIOTRAP edition for control of C.capitata (VIOTRAP F) is mature enough to enter the licensing procedure under Regulation 1107/2009 immediately after initiation of the Business Plan implementation.

Sub-task 1.2.: Technical Comparative analysis
Comparative analysis with competing solutions clearly demonstrated VIOTRAP concept superiority, since it remains clearly the only solution simultaneously presenting all the following advantages:
- efficiency (estimated at 98-99%),
- cost competitiveness,
- 100% organic farming compatibility,
- absence of any effects to beneficial insects,
- maximum usage safety,
- zero residue levels on treated fruit crops.

Sub-task 1.3.: Patent Search
Patent search relied on Espacenet (EPO database), as well as on the corresponding WIPO and USPTO databases.
Hundreds of results have been identified, of which, an estimated 43 existing patents worldwide present significant or minor similarities with VIOTRAP concept.
These cases have been divided in three (3) categories, based on their degree of relativity to VIOTRAP concept:
- Category A (significant similarities),
- Category B (potential similarities – need further search)
- Category C (minor similarities)
Patent search reaffirmed that existing patents are not prohibitive to (either EU-wide or further international) geographical extension of Pat. Reg. No: 20090100114.

Sub-task 1.4.: Roadmap for industrial readiness
Project team identified specific areas for further research, following conclusion of Project no. 711486, as a means to improve industrial readiness and overall competitiveness of VIOTRAP technology.

Task 2: Business Plan
Sub-Task 2.1: Situation analysis
Project team performed a situation analysis, which resulted to an extensive SWOT analysis. The latter demonstrated main, rather contradicting, forces concerning DAKOFAKA operations and presence in the market:
- On one hand the company possesses extensive expertise and know-how in the bio-pesticides domain, which provide a positive framework for European & international expansion of business.
- On the other hand, the company presents several inadequacies, mainly concerning its organisational & operational profile, available infrastructure, market penetration capabilities, which largely inhibit its potential for further expansion.
- At the same time, domestic market shows high fluctuations and growth limitations, owing mainly to its structural weaknesses (prevalence of geographically dispersed micro farming establishments, etc.), coupled with the effects of the multi-year recession in the country on trade volume and practises.
- During the past 18 months, exports of VIOTRAP D to France have been steadily increasing at impressive rates, demonstrating VIOTRAP concept potential even in the most advanced and demanding markets in the EU.
Taking into account the above, the company’s medium term development plan is considered of utmost importance to incorporate extensive interventions targeting:
- its modernisation as well as
- its capacity to penetrate European and international markets, as a means to fully exploit its technology, expertise and growth potential.

Sub-task 2.2.: BP components
The company’s Development Strategy relies heavily on the understanding that necessary investment effort need to focus equally on three (3) pillars:
- PRODUCTION, i.e. actions aiming at efficient production of high added value and high quality output ,
- PROTECTION, i.e. actions aiming at extending current IPR coverage both geographically & thematically,
- PROMOTION, i.e. actions aiming at increasing product visibility and brand value .
Activities falling within the above pillars, together with selected horizontal activities, are expected to adequately address the main challenges and prerequisites related to the attainment of the company’s vision and strategic objectives.
To this end, within sub-Task 2.2, the following results were produced:
- an analytical marketing and promotion plan, identifying eleven (11) main target countries of primary importance for business expansion,
- a detailed description of necessary preparatory actions and investment priorities,
- a roadmap of activities, as a means to facilitate successful conclusion of the Business Plan and maximisation of its results.
Great attention was given to the requirement for licensing/ registration of company products as legally circulating PPPs (Plant Protection Products) before entering target markets. These processes are both time and capital resources consuming, prohibiting the company to swiftly exploit available technology .
In this context, the fact that the company already distributes legally a product with significantly similar characteristics and attributes, is foreseen to be exploited both so as
- to minimise required time for licensing of VIOTRAP F and VIOTRAP S,
- to generate much needed revenues, within a period of intense investment.
Consequently, an analytical roadmap for licensing in main target countries was laid down.

Sub-task 2.3.: BP Financial Aspects
BP analysis resulted to an analytical assessment of economic implications of company strategy, in terms of:
- investment, production & operational costs,
- anticipated revenues,
- expected profitability under different sensitivity analysis scenarios, and most importantly
- project financing needs and associated issues or limitations.
For this purpose, different scenarios were developed, as a means to assess the effects of various assumptions on company growth and results.
Key parameter to the overall viability scenarios were the adopted penetration rates to the above target markets.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

VIOTRAP concept is considered a breakthrough as a Plant Protection solution, since it possesses simultaneously all the following advantages:
- efficiency (estimated at 98-99%),
- cost competitiveness,
- 100% organic farming compatibility,
- absence of any effects to beneficial insects,
- maximum safety for users,
- zero residue levels on treated fruit crops.

As a result, successful implementation of the company’s Business Plan is expected to result to the following impact:

Expected impact for the enterprise
Evriklis Fitsakis operates in the bio-pesticides market since 2000, under the brand DAKOFAKA. The firm/ personal company has developed and patented an innovative method for mitigation of B.oleae (i.e. an insect infecting olive trees), branded VIOTRAP D(akofaka). The latter is being currently distributed in Greece, Cyprus and France.
While the company possesses extensive expertise and know-how in the bio-pesticides domain, which provide a positive framework for expansion of business in the vast European and wider international fruit production market, the size of business and overall results are rather lomited, currently standing at an expected turnover for 2016 at K€200.
Successful implementation of the company’s business plan, is expected to transform DAKOFAKA - Evriklis Fitsakis from a local producer into a global player in the bio-pesticides domain, resulting to a multiplication of turnover and results.
Such a development will allow the company to further expand its product base with additional solutions based on existing technology.

Expected impact for the customer base
VIOTRAP technology is a very promising concept, incorporating intense disruptive characteristics.
In effect, VIOTRAP concept is a mild, environmentally friendly solution for harmful insects control, with a reduced cost comparing to alternatives, and an efficiency approaching 100%.
The combination of the above advantages makes VIOTRAP a highly attractive solution both for professional farmers and domestic cultivators, since they can achieve optimum yield at lower costs.
These attributes are particularly positive for professional farmers, since they can achieve high product output and quality at lower costs, thus improving their overall competitiveness.

Expected impact for local communities
Local communities are expected to benefit from VIOTRAP Project successful implementation in multiple ways:
Firstly, a significant part of the additional turnover which is projected to be generated by DAKOFAKA - Evriklis Fitsakis, is expected to be directed towards increased employment, increased orders for raw materials, equipment and services, as well as towards increased social expenditure (i.e. taxation and social security contributions).
However, the most important benefit for local communities and the society as a whole is expected to be VIOTRAP concept per se, which is expected to serve as a paradigm for efficient business results with negligent environmental impact.
Through the extended use of VIOTRAP products, the use of conventional insecticides is expected to be reduced, with clear advantages for soil, underground water and the environment as a whole, resulting to improved conditions for public health
Also, the existence of a credible, environmentally friendly solution for harmful insects’ control, is expected to result to toughest measures on conventional insecticides’ use.

Expected impact for the EU as a whole
VIOTRAP concept is a novel cost-effective bio-based solution resulting inter alia to:
- secure and sufficient supplies of safe, healthy and high quality food,
- vertical recovery of biological diversity, in particular concerning pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Hence, VIOTRAP concept is expected to incorporate significant impact for the EU, falling directly within the following policy areas:
- protection of consumers’ health and public health in general,
- protection of biodiversity and sustainability,
- improvement of the overall competitiveness of the European farming sector,
- creation of sustainable and competitive bio-based industries, supporting the development of a European bioeconomy.

Related information

Record Number: 190234 / Last updated on: 2016-11-09
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