German chemical manufacturer Bayer’s Brazilian unit has received regulatory approval for a new fungicide, designed specifically to help the country’s soya producers combat harmful fungi.

The FOX Xpro’s main target was the Asian soya rust disease, which was caused by two types of fungi and which cost farmers US$bn in losses annually, including the costs of fungicides and crop losses, Reuters reported on 25 October.

In addition to soya, Bayer said the product could also be used on sunflower and other crops, including barley, corn, cotton and wheat.

Jean Zonato, Bayer’s fungicides director in Brazil, told Reuters that the Brazilian crop protection products market was worth US$10bn, with fungicides making up a good 40% of the total.

The new Bayer fungicide would be available to farmers by the 2018/2019 crop cycle after the company carries out field tests.

Bayer and Japanese Sumitomo Chemical Co signed an agreement in June to develop now fungicidal products for controlling soya pests in Brazil, said Reuters.

According to government data, Brazil produced 114M tonnes of soya in the 2016/2017 season.