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Revolutionizing Agriculture: STK and LEADS Agri Partnership

In a strategic move to address plant diseases affecting the agricultural sector in the Philippines, Israel-based STK Bio-ag Technologies has teamed up with local agricultural chemicals manufacturer and distributor LEADS Agri Agricultural Products Corp. The partnership aims to bring advanced organic and botanical-based fungicides to Filipino farmers.

The exclusive distribution agreement was formally signed on October 12 at the Acacia Hotel Manila in Alabang, Muntinlupa, marking a significant step towards introducing sustainable solutions to combat plant diseases in the country. The signing ceremony was led by LEADS Agri CEO Jofer Malveda and STK Country Director Kristle Aguilar-Hawod, with STK’s CEO Arye Tenenbaum and other officials joining remotely via Zoom.

Despite the challenges posed by the Israel-Hamas war, which impacted Tenenbaum’s physical attendance, both parties expressed confidence in the partnership’s potential. Tenenbaum stated, “We believe that we have the right technology, the perfect products for the benefit of Filipino farmers, and LEADS is the perfect partner to distribute and develop these products in the Philippines.” The cornerstone of STK’s innovative approach lies in developing tea tree oil-based fungicides, namely TIMOREX GOLD and REGEV, which offer sustainable solutions for a healthier agricultural environment.

TIMOREX GOLD stands out as the Philippines’ first registered organic fungicide for Black Sigatoka. This disease, a significant threat to banana crops, causes yellowing and browning of banana leaves. REGEV, on the other hand, is a groundbreaking hybrid fungicide that combines botanical and synthetic ingredients—tea tree oil and difenoconazole—in a single formulation. This dual approach enhances its effectiveness in managing plant diseases.

Given the Philippines’ dependence on agriculture, plant diseases pose economic threats by reducing crop quantity and quality, increasing spending on disease management, and ultimately impacting farmers’ income. Fusarium wilt, caused by the lethal fungus Fusarium oxysporum, is a particular concern for banana plants, affecting the country’s position as the second-largest exporter of Cavendish bananas. STK’s products, REGEV and TIMOREX GOLD, have demonstrated efficacy against economically important crop diseases. They activate the plant’s defense mechanism, providing induced systemic resistance/systemic acquired resistance, making the entire plant resistant to infection while maintaining normal fruit production.

Kristle Aguilar-Hawod emphasized STK’s commitment to creating balanced, cleaner, and sustainable options for farmers, noting that the tea tree oil’s formulation has been perfected and recognized globally. LEADS Agri, through its CEO Jofer Malveda, expressed aspirations to expand the reach of these innovative products to benefit Filipino farmers in the banana, rice, fruits, and vegetable industries. Despite geopolitical challenges, Malveda expressed confidence in the resilience of the people involved in the manufacturing and delivery processes, affirming, “Whatever happens, it’s business as usual.”