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Azucarera del Norte, AZUNOSA uses biological control against pests (Translation)

22 November 2010

Honduran Sugar cane producers, in particular the Azucarera del Norte (AZUNOSA) sugar refinery, will strengthen the implementation of the Pest Integral Management (PIM) principles where pest and disease control will be done through the use of biological or living organisms, substantially reducing the use of pesticides, as part of an efficient and responsible environmental strategy.

That's why the first Biological Organisms Production Center for Agriculture built in Honduras was inaugurated today at the FHIA in La Lima, Cortés, thanks to a joint effort of the WWF Mexico/MAR, the Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA), the AZUNOSA sugar refinery, the Coca Cola Foundation and the Summit Foundation.

Minister of Agriculture Jacobo Regalado stated that the creation of this center is a great achievement for the country as it will enable more agricultural companies to implement this method of pest control, which in the past had to be imported from other countries in the region.

The first biological agent to be produced is the fungus Metarhizium Anisopliae, which serves as a biological control of the pest known as "Salivazo" (Aeneolomia Postica). AZUNOSA replaces the use of chemical insecticides in their farming operations as a major effort aimed at reducing the toxicity of chemical pesticides, which affect the Mesoamerican Coral Reef. This is one of the main goals of the program under the agreement with the Agricultural and Environmental Program of the World Fund WWF, Mexico/MAR).

Miguel Angel Yague, CEO of AZUNOSA, stated: "It is very rewarding for our sugar refinery to be part of this important project, publicly formalizing our belief in sustainable development based on our 10 priorities. This is part of our strategy as a member of the SABMiller group to demonstrate a clear commitment to corporate social responsibility, which we constantly practice."

"We firmly believe that by being pioneers in the eradication of child labor on sugarcane plantations and now through this initiative to apply principles of integrated pest management we can show the whole industry that it is possible and even indispensable to be successful managers of our businesses without neglecting the environment and the neighboring communities," declared Miguel Yague.

During the first year of operation, the production of this biological agent will be used by AZUNOSA. As production expands, it will be available to the market at a price point that will promote its use as a Better Management Practice (BMP) for pest control in other sugar refineries in Honduras.

"Sugarcane is a crop where biological pest control agents can be used successfully. That is why AZUNOSA is a strategic partner of the WWF program in Honduras and it has been selected as the first sugarcane company in Central America to be certified by the Better Sugarcane Initiative (BSI), which demands economic, environmental and social sustainability and includes the participation of the largest sugar buyers and users worldwide," said Jose Vasquez, Director of WWF Honduras.

In the future, the production of other biological control agents will be integrated according to needs and greater experience in this area. Funguses like Paecilomyces fumosoroseus, Beauveria bassiana, Verticillium lecanii and Trichoderma harzianum will be included. These control a wide variety of pests and diseases in land crops from the Mesoamerican Coral Reef.

The CEO of Coca Cola in Honduras, Hubert Espinoza, stated: "In our compromise with the environment, we value the fact that our suppliers of sugar are implementing practices that are environmentally friendly. The production of the Metarhizium fungus contributes to the import substitution of a microorganism that can now be produced, stored, distributed and applied locally. It will create new jobs in the city of La Lima and will strengthen our country's supply chain."

This SABMiller subsidiary news release has been translated from its local market language to English language for publication on www.sabmiller.com. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original material but due to the difficulties of translation slight differences may exist. Note: This news release was first published in its local market on 16/11/2010.

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