Biological solutions for the control of agricultural pests and diseases present a fast-growing segment of AgriTech, and they offer a safe and sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides. The WBF connects stakeholders from across the bioprotection/biocontrol sector, with a view to nurturing scientific and technological innovations and maximising their commercial potential. The WBF is guided by an international Advisory Board comprising 30 experts from industry and academia, and the organisation is led by a Board of Directors, two new members of which were voted into position during a meeting of the Advisory Board held on 3rd November 2022.
Elected as the new WBF President is Ms Carol Pullen, Exclusive Consultant to Rovensa, and formerly General Manager – Europe at Oro Agri (part of the Rovensa Group). Ms Pullen has been a member of the WBF Advisory Board since its formation in early 2021, and she is well acquainted with the values and mission of the WBF. Ms Pullen replaces Professor Shashi Sharma, Chair in Biosecurity and Food Security at Murdoch University, Australia, who has led the WBF since his appointment in July 2021, and has overseen achievements in regulatory reform, and numerous initiatives aimed at connecting the bioprotection/biocontrol sector for innovation and collaboration. Professor Sharma will remain a member of the WBF international Advisory Committee.
“Today’s unprecedented population growth and climate change, exasperated by various other contributing factors, require a paradigm shift in how we look at agriculture as we are witnessing a shift towards sustainability,” said Ms Pullen. “I look forward to playing an active role, with the support of the esteemed WBF advisors, in facilitating an accelerated transition towards a more sustainable agriculture by encouraging collaboration between academia and industry, and addressing barriers to entry through regulatory reform.”
Elected as the new WBF Treasurer is Dr Shachi DG Gurumayum, Director of AgriMayum GmbH, and Founder of the MaolKeki Foundation which is catalysing development in Manipur through agricultural training and nurturing AgriTech entrepreneurs. Dr Gurumayum will be supported by Mrs Meraj Syeda, who has performed the role of Treasurer since the WBF was formed.
“It is a pleasure to join the WBF at a time when biologicals are becoming mainstream and an essential element of many integrated pest management programs,” said Dr Gurumayum. “I look forward to supporting the team at WBF and the industry in shaping this landscape.”
Ms Carol Pullen and Dr Schachi Gurumayum will both serve two-year tenures, from 1st January 2023 until 31st December 2024. They join existing Board Member Professor Zhibing Zhang, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Co-Director of the China Institute, University of Birmingham. UK, who is currently serving a two-year tenure as WBF Vice President (until 31st December 2023).
Dr Minshad Ansari, Chairman of the WBF, thanked the outgoing Board members for their service and achievements, saying “First and foremost, I would like to thank Professor Shashi Sharma for his work in helping the WBF achieve its goals and provide our members with the best possible advantages during their tenure. As a new organisation in 2019, we have had numerous hurdles to overcome, but their strong leadership and support have ensured our success, and we are looking forward to even more accomplishments in the future.”
Welcoming the new Board members, he added, “We are delighted to welcome Carol Pullen and Dr Schachi Gurumayum as the new WBF President and Treasurer. Their experience in the BioProtection sector, and in advancing AgriTech globally, will be invaluable as they guide us over the next two years.”