World BioProtection Forum welcomes four new experts to its Advisory Committee

Four world-leading experts have joined the World BioProtection Forum (WBF) as members of its new Advisory Committee, to ensure the Forum offers the best possible advantages for its members.

In order to help its members, navigate the challenges and opportunities of the post-COVID, post-Brexit world, the WBF is proud to have four world-leading experts join its new Advisory Committee.

  • Professor Ralf-Udo Ehlers is a renowned scientist who is deeply engaged in European research projects concerning bioprotection methods. He is the Founder of the company E-nema, which produces nematodes and microorganisms to be used in pest control. He is also Guest Professor at Gent University in Belgium.
  • Professor Shashi Sharma, Adjunct Professor at the Harry Butler Institute of Murdoch University, Australia, has led a long and distinguished career of around 40 years as a scientist, science leader, coordinator, policy maker, manager, program leader and director of a diverse range of programs focusing on plant and environment health, food security, market access and trade.
  • Dr Stephen Ford is the Founder of Ecolibrium Biologicals, a multi award winning Agri-Biotech company based in Auckland, New Zealand, with a global perspective on the provision of sustainable pest control solutions in agriculture and horticulture. He is a Winner of Auckland Universities’ prestigious Entrepreneurs Challenge, a recipient of an NZ Bio Award, and a Finalist in the Bayer NZ Innovators Awards.
  • Dr Venkatesh Devanur is Founder and CEO of Agri Life, India, a premier biopesticide company that exports biopesticides and biofertilizers internationally. Reflecting his devotion to the biopesticide and biofertilizer industry, Dr Devanur has been Secretary of BIPA (Bio-Agri Inputs Producers Association of India) for the past 6 years.

These experts will help the WBF to achieve its goal of encouraging collaborations between all stakeholders throughout the bioprotection industry to facilitate innovation and commercialisation. They will also help our sector to take advantage of the opportunities offered by recent changes in the balance of global power.

Challenges and opportunities

The COVID pandemic has affected all areas of scientific research. Biopesticide developers have been impacted by restrictions on practical research and funding, which have only added to pre-existing obstacles of regulatory hurdles, commercial uptake, and formulation challenges. On the other hand, COVID led to surging consumer demand for organic produce with no chemical residues and, in the wake of Brexit, the UK government has declared a commitment to support science and technology, and an intention to expand partnerships across the globe.

Regulatory reform

Following Brexit, the UK Government has the opportunity, freedom (and relative agility for change) to reform the regulatory environment for biopesticides. The WBF has undertaken the task of leading a dialogue with the UK government, to drive reform in matters most important to our members. The organisation is working to lead an initiative calling for meaningful reform to the regulatory process for biopesticides in the UK, and to developing an environment that supports and nurtures this sector. This could be a first step to encouraging more rapid reform across the EU.

If there was ever a time to make effective requests for change, it is now!” declared Dr Minshad Ansari, Chairman of the WBF. “It is very clear that the UK government is keen to nurture sectors such as ours – not just because of our innovation and biotech, but also because our sector ties in so strongly with the clean, green future that forms a key part of their vision. If we are successful, we should have a regulatory environment in the UK that is much less expensive, and in which reviews should take one year instead of four or five.”

Virtual conference 2021

The WBF’s virtual conference on 6th July will focus on regulatory challenges, and the WBF’s initiative calling for regulatory reform in the UK (and beyond). Visit https://biopesticidesummit.com/ for more information.

Contact:

Dr Minshad Ansari Chairman of the WBF minshad.ansari@worldbioprotectionforum.comDr Sarah Harding Director of Communications sarah.harding@worldbioprotectionforum.com  

Editor note:

About the World BioProtection Forum

The World BioProtection Forum (WBF) is a non-profit organisation for encouraging collaboration across the biocontrol industry and academia. The WBF was founded in 2019 by Dr Minshad Ansari – a scientist who became an entrepreneur – to encourage the successful development and commercialisation of novel biological control products for agricultural pests and diseases. To join the WBF, or for more information, please visit www.worldbioprotectionforum.com

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