World BioAg Summit looks at industry challenges and opportunities

International Business Development Manager, Dr Jenna Ross, attended the World BioAg Summit 15-17th March. This event brought together stakeholders from across biologicals, including biopesticides, biostimulants, biofertilizers and wider Integrated Crop Management and Integrated Pest Management, to discuss opportunities and challenges within the industry.

The event was opened by Pamela Marrone, Executive Chair, along with Roger Tripathi, CEO and Founder of Global BioAg Linkages™ and Primary BioAg Innovations™. This was followed by a presentation by Karen Ross, Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), who touched upon resilient and sustainable agricultural systems. The theme of agricultural sustainability was continued by Kathleen Merrigen, Former Deputy Secretary of USDA and current Executive Director, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, who discussed what is required to drive sustainability forward. This was a segue into the first sessions that were focused on balancing food security and food safety to support sustainability, followed by assessing the needs and wants from BioAg products with regards to soil health.

The regulatory system for biologicals was also reviewed on the global stage, with insight from a range of speakers including Nicolas Cock Duque (President at BioProtection Global), Julia Emanuela (Croplife Brazil), Jennifer Lewis (IBMA), Keith Jones (BPIA), Luca Bonini (President EBIC) and Charles Smith (Office of Pesticide Programs of EPA).

A particular highlight of the conference was a session on BioAg Commercialization and Adaptability Challenges. Walt Duflock, Director of Innovation for Western Growers, highlighted key steps for adoption including the understanding of the BioAg product offering using the ‘Lean Business Model Canvas’ – a tool which is regularly used here at CHAP.

The final sessions covered the role of institutions as well as attracting investors to BioAg. The institution session assessed the needs of the next generation of innovators and highlighted the importance of a multidisciplinary approach and linking Government, academia and industry, while the investor segment assessed success criteria as well as exit strategies. The closing session looked at the relationship between precision agriculture and BioAg within IPM and ICM context.

The top five shortlisted candidates for the BioAgro Disruptor Award were also announced at World BioAg, and included Bee Vectoring Technology (Vectorhive), Pheronym (Nemastim), Probelte (Bulhnova), Responsive Drip Irrigation (Growstream Plant Responsive Irrigation) and Valagro (Talete). Winner of the award was Probelte with their product Bulhnova – a biofertilizer that avoids aquifer contamination from nitrates.

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