ABIM is the premier global meeting for the biocontrol industry and is internationally recognised as the global platform for the industry to network, discover and unveil new products, market opportunities and research areas. But as well as promoting biocontrol and networking it is the platform to liaise with and inform policy makers and regulators of the specific needs of our unique growth industry.
During the three days of the 12th conference, 1046 delegates from 54 countries representing 511 companies and organisations from all over the globe were present and exchanged experiences and obtained information on the latest products and developments on the world market. Two keynote speeches enriched the programme. The scientific programme with 8 sessions with 35 presentations covered the latest developments in market development, regulatory affairs and novel products for plant protection. The exhibition was at the core of the congress, giving 69 companies excellent visibility.
This year’s highlights included:
The award for this year’s Bernard Blum Award, for novel biocontrol solutions that will make an impact on this rapidly growing market, was given to CBC Europe for the product Tremos, a digital electronic system used to disrupt location and mating of leafhopper species. Although more physical than biological, the approach clearly shows an understanding of insect behaviour and using a novel approach to achieve control.
In Monday evening’s keynote address, Koppert’s Managing Director, Paul Koppert recounted the early days and formation of Koppert Biological Systems, who this year celebrate 50 years as a company. Paul’s presentation included a specially commissioned video demonstrating the history and philosophy of the company both at home and overseas. Those who watched the video, Paul said, would see that core to the success of the company was its focus on people. At the end of his presentation, Paul Koppert personally presented Willem Ravensberg, as President of IBMA, with the revised edition of their book ‘Knowing & Recognizing’ which was also launched at this year’s ABIM.
In the second keynote address on Tuesday night, CABI Executive Director for Global Operations, Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, called for more collaboration between the public and private sectors to encourage the use of biological controls by smallholder farmers to tackle damaging pests. While the number of biological control agents and products available to farmers is greater than ever, the use of these products, in comparison to other control methods such as pesticides, is still very low and one of the steps required for the use of biological control agents by farmers, is their recommendation by extension services. To demonstrate and assist him in his presentation, Dr Kuhlmann was ably supported by Henry Msatilomo, Chief Agricultural Extension Officer, Malawi and Alex Semakula, Agricultural Extension Officer, Uganda.
Whilst Monday was dominated by professional working group meetings and an opportunity to spend time in the exhibition, Tuesday and Wednesday were given over to 35 diverse presentations from across the industry. Each working group had an opportunity to present their segments latest developments during the 3-day programme. In addition, Tuesday started with the all-important examination of the regulatory conditions affecting the speed of development in the market and this year ABIM was pleased to host contributions from three influencing organisations, with presentations from DG Sante, FAO and OECD Expert Group on Biopesticides and provided delegates with the opportunity to speak direct with key regulatory influencers. The programme also included on Wednesday morning an excellent panel discussion looking at ‘Innovations Influencing Implementation of Biocontrol.’
For those thinking about ABIM 2018, the Steering Committee is already focused on how to make the next ABIM bigger and better. Everyone is welcome. Put the date in your diary for 22-24th October 2018 and we look forward to seeing you there."