The Advisory Committee of the World BioProtection Forum (WBF) has elected their new President and Vice President to lead the sector forward in the creation of global solutions to 21st century problems in food safety and environmental challenges.
Professor Shashi Sharma, a former Director to the Western Australian Government in Plant Biosecurity, and Professor and Chair in Biosecurity and Food Security at Murdoch University (Australia), and Professor Zhibing Zhang of the University of Birmingham, UK, have been elected President and Vice President, respectively, of the World BioProtection Forum (WBF). The elections took place during a meeting of the WBF Advisory Committee, held on Friday 2nd July 2021.
The WBF is a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage collaboration between the BioProtection (formerly know as Biopesticide) industry and academia in the Biocontrol sector. Its goal is to ensure the successful development and commercialisation of BioProtection products, and to help its members overcome challenges and leverage opportunities in a post-COVID, post-Brexit world.
Professor Sharma has more than 35 years of international cross-sector experience in the food and agriculture sector, having worked, collaborated, managed, coordinated, directed, participated, networked and/or led initiatives in over 30 countries across five continents.
Professor Zhibing, who has built an international reputation for developing original work on micromanipulation of single micro-/nanoparticles and encapsulation/bioencapsulation, brings to the table an academic perspective. He has undertaken research projects on product formulation engineering in collaboration with more than 40 national and international companies, leading to a wide range of industrial applications.
“The appointments of Professors Shashi Sharma and Zhibing Zhang reflect a key focus of the WBF in connecting industry and academia,” commented Dr Minshad Ansari, Chairman of the WBF. “If we can connect these two sectors effectively, then collaboration will lead to innovation and commercialisation, and we will move the whole BioProtection industry forward.”
The WBF is an international organisation with regional chapters. The India Chapter was launched, with much success at the end of 2019 and, as the world emerges from the COVID pandemic, plans are underway for more regional chapters in Latin America and other parts of the world. This structure of regional chapters will enable consistent approaches to world challenges, explained the WBF’s new President.
“There is a lack of global direction and vision in the BioProtection sector,” declared Professor Sharma. “For the past 25 years, we have been reactive, but a strategic approach must be taken if we are to find global solutions to the problems facing us today. We need new systems, new technologies and new approaches for providing 21st century solutions to 21st century problems. The WBF is in a good position to offer that leadership and to help the BioProtection industry finally realise its potential.”
Professor Zhibing Zhang FREng said: “Food safety and environmental protection are two long-term grand challenges we face on this planet, which require global collaborations between industry and academia. The founding of the World Bioprotection Forum is timely, as it can facilitate such collaborations to develop innovative products for bioprotection in the post-Covid world.”
Worth around $3.0 billion in 2018 and projected to reach $10.0 billion by 2025, the global BioProtection market was showing an annual growth rate of 15-18% before the COVID pandemic. Underlying this growth were numerous factors that have only recently started to be recognised and discussed, such as an urgent need to “fill the gaps” in the market due to removal of toxic chemical pesticides. Those pesticides were over-used in the 20th century due to primary concerns over food security. Now, our overriding concerns relate to food safety and environmental damage, so new solutions for a new century – such as BioProtectants – must be encouraged and utilised.
For more information about the WBF, benefits of membership, and how to join, visit https://www.worldbioprotectionforum.com/#
Dr Sarah Harding
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 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