Swansea University and Swansea University-based company Bionema Ltd hosted the inaugural Biopesticide Summit in July this year, with the aim of providing an international platform for collaboration and partnership.
More than 200 international experts including 30 exhibitors gathered at the two-day Summit to discuss challenges and opportunities in the biocontrol sector.
The event was introduced by Dr Minshad Ansari (pictured) CEO of Bionema Ltd and Chairman of the Biopesticides Summit which is part of the World BioProtection Forum (WBF) and bridges the gap between academia and industry globally to ensure the successful development and commercialisation of biocontrol products.
Dr Ansari said: “The global demand for biocontrol technology is increasing rapidly, evidenced by the fact that 30% of plant protection tools now available are already biological, and more than 50% of new regulatory applications are biological products. This is in line with a new ‘green era’ that is seeing increased support from society and governments, and greater investment in R&D in the sector.
A key focus of the event was to encourage collaboration in order for small companies, which the biocontrol industry largely relies on, to thrive.
Other discussions included the need for manufacturers to ensure their biocontrol products are formulated for compatibility with standard pesticide application equipment; and the need for improved guidance on how to use products. The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) also announced the launch of its BioProtection Portal at the Summit. This platform will offer free information about products registered in any country for specific crop pests and diseases and is predicted to become the go-to resource for identifying and sourcing biopesticides.
Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle, said: “A growing call for green technologies means the biocontrol sector is on the cusp of huge success, with global demand for approved biocontrol products set to rise astronomically. This inaugural Biopesticide Summit provided the important opportunity for international experts to share best practice for the future. I am very pleased Swansea University was the host for this prestigious event, and we look forward to welcoming delegates for the Biopesticide Summit in 2020.”
Dr Sarah Harding, Editorial Director of Chemicals Knowledge magazine added, “This was a tremendously successful inaugural event – the goals of encouraging collaboration and innovation have undoubtedly been achieved, and the people involved here are going to be leading the agricultural industry through an interesting period of change.”