The Kenyan capital Nairobi was the location for the both the inaugural Biocontrol Africa and the NewAG conferences last month and, together, attracted 500 delegates from Africa and beyond. Koppert BV, Koppert South Africa, Koppert Kenya and strategic partners from India, gave presentations at both conferences. The aim of the conferences was to bring together biological companies to discuss, amongst other things, regulatory affairs and experiences with biocontrol from around the globe. Key sessions included bioinsecticides and biocontrol of invasive plants an diseases.
As one of the keynote speakers, Henri Oosthoek gave a presentation on 50 years of biocontrol history, referring to Koppert’s pioneering experience. Henri emphasized that these were interesting times for biocontrol and that the subject has never been more relevant than it was today. He noted that biological control has a role to play in ensuring food safety and food security in Africa and the world. He called upon the biological companies not to work alone but in partnerships, including governments, for greater impact.
In the second session of the programme, Koppert Kenya’s Charles Macharia gave a presentation on the dissemination and upscaling of biological solutions for the management of Tuta absoluta and the Fusarium Wilt-Root Knot Nematode complex in Kenya. The presentation prompted a discussion regarding the prospects of smallholder farmers adopting biological control and IPM.
The conference gathered more than 300 delegates and close on 60 exhibitors from different companies. The focus of the conference was on the topics: Specialty Plant Nutrition; Biostimulants and Biofertilisers; and Precision Agriculture. Koppert held a presentation on biological seed dressing of cereals - the case for Panoramix in East Africa. This presentation was given by Charles Macharia.
Koppert organized the ‘Koppert Biocontrol Dinner’ during the conference. The dinner was an invite-only event that saw numerous partners and stakeholders from both private and public institutions attending. The goal of the African-themed event was to talk about the subject of Scaling, and Jan Ubels from SNV gave a talk on the topic. Peter Maes ended the session with a call for all present to partner with Koppert in its endeavours.