Agricultural pests destroy around one third of all the crops we grow, costing billions and threatening food security. Yet chemical pesticides are becoming less attractive to farmers, either because of their potential damage to humans and the environment, their cost or - as pests build up resistance to a growing number of chemicals - their effectiveness. With official regulations mandating a reduction in chemical use, and driven also by consumer and/or farmer preferences, a viable alternative is urgently needed.
The European and global market of environmentally friendly biopesticide solutions has grown significantly over the past few years, and UK R&D organisations and companies comprise a significant part of it.
Biopesticides - a contraction of “biological pesticides” - occur naturally in fungi, bacteria and other micro-organisms as well as in some naturally occurring chemicals such as plant extracts and pheromones. They can be applied to crops in much the same way as conventional chemical pesticides to target insect pests and diseases. They generally have little impact on other organisms and have reduced negative effects on biodiversity.
Globally, the biopesticides market grew 24% from 2014 to 2016 to a value of more than $1.8 billion, according to the recently published report Global Biopesticides: An Overview of Natural and Microbial Pesticides by international market research and management consulting firm Kline.
The market is expected to continue growing at double-digit rates over the next decade, driven by robust growth in countries like Brazil, China, and France. Currently, the USA, China and Italy are the largest markets, accounting for almost 80% of the total global sales. The UK biopesticides market is also experiencing steady growth of 11% during the period from 2015 to 2020.
Sixth annual Greenwich Biopesticides event
On 12 April 2018, the Greenwich Biopesticides Event provides the ideal forum for business and R&D partners to come together and capitalise on the emerging trends in the biopesticide market.
Free to attend, the Greenwich Biopesticides Event has established itself among Europe’s researchers, industry leaders, and regulators in sustainable pest management as an important forum in which to talk about the latest developments and to negotiate new partnerships.
Organised by Enterprise Europe Network and the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, the sixth of these annual events will take place at the University’s historic campus in London. The delegates include researchers, formulators, producers and sales people from the UK and international crop protection and pest management sector.
Key speakers include Professor Toby Bruce, professor of Insect Chemical Ecology at Keele University, who will talk about novel strategies for successful deployment of biopesticides in agroecosystems. Katie Beckett from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will discuss the latest developments on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources. Dr Liliya Serazetdinova, the KTN lead for Agri-Food sector and Honorary Secretary for the SCI Agrisciences Group, will chair the plenary session.
There will also be intensive 90-minute pitch sessions, during which selected UK and European biopesticide researchers and entrepreneurs will present their latest achievements and will seek new cross-sector collaborations.
The afternoon is dedicated entirely to matchmaking where registered delegates participate in pre-planned one-to-one meetings aimed at future partnerships, making new contacts and exploring technical and commercial opportunities. The matchmaking and the pitch sessions are signature elements of the event which, since its inception, has created many successful cross-sector and trans-border partnerships.
Interested parties can still register on the event’s website before 9 April.