CABI BioProtection Portal finds strength in partnerships

August 15, 2023

In February 2020, the CABI BioProtection Portal was launched, to provide growers and advisors across the globe with information about commercially available biopesticide and biocontrol products. Dr. Emma Jenner from CABI reveals some of the successes of the portal so far, and the potential for more to come.

In February 2020, the CABI BioProtection Portal – a digital free-access information resource – was launched. This collaborative initiative, being led by CABI, aims to provide growers and advisors across the globe with up-to-date, easily accessible information, on-demand, about commercially available biopesticide and biocontrol products. CABI tells New AG International that it is looking for partners and sponsors to join this initiative and ensure that this information remains free access in the future. Here, Dr. Emma Jenner from CABI reveals some of the successes of the portal so far, and the potential for more to come.

The global biopesticides market is growing at an exponential rate and is expected to reach USD$11.3 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.

It is being driven, among other things, by an increasing awareness about the environmental impact of agriculture, a growth in consumer demand for sustainably produced food and a drive by governments around the world to promote more sustainable pest management.

However, a lack of awareness among growers about more sustainable approaches and the challenges associated with adopting new technologies is expected to slow the growth of the market.

The CABI BioProtection Portal addresses this problem head on by enabling users to quickly find biological solutions for their crop and pest problems. They can also learn about biological control as a strategy, and how to apply it, through the comprehensive information resources that it houses.

Led by CABI

CABI is an international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

With over 500 staff in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, CABI puts information, skills and tools into people’s hands – supporting food and nutrition security, ensuring efficient, safe and nutritious food.

The organization’s 49-member countries guide and influence its core areas of work, which include international development cooperation and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

It receives core financial support from governments in the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Switzerland. Other sources of funding include programme/project funding from development agencies, the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.

The idea to create the CABI BioProtection Portal was born from CABI’s Plantwise programme (which has now evolved into PlantwisePlus), which aims to empower farmers to increase income, food security and food safety amid a changing climate.

Over the course of 10 years, Plantwise has reached 51 million small holder farmers and provided them with access to information and tools needed to manage their pests more successfully and sustainably. The programme left a legacy of approximately 5,000 plant clinics where farmers can take their diseased or pest-infested plants for a diagnosis and management advice from trained plant doctors.

Through its work, CABI has become very aware of the lack of knowledge among farmers and national agricultural advisors about biological pest management. Information on what biocontrol is and how to apply it or obtain products is also woefully lacking.

Portal reputation is growing

Since its launch, the CABI BioProtection Portal has welcomed over one million visitors to the site. Most users looking for pest solutions were farmers/growers – followed by advisors and researchers – with top crops enquired about including tomato, mango, rice, potato and maize.

The portal contains data for approximately 4,000 registered biological products across 32 countries – in English and local languages – and its geographical reach and product information is expanding fast. New countries are being added regularly from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia.

“The CABI BioProtection Portal has all the information I need and has helped me to recruit more farmers into organic farming,” said Samuel Donald, a technical assistant for Interveg Export in Kenya.

Wycliff Wachira, an agronomist in Kenya, is equally enthused. “My farmers now have a wide choice of pest and disease control solutions thanks to the CABI BioProtection Portal,” he commented.

“I applaud the CABI BioProtection initiative to make biological control and sustainable practices the first option for pest management on a global scale,” said Dr. Germán Vargas from the National Coffee Research Centre (Cenicafé) in Colombia.

Power in partnership

CABI is ideally positioned to lead the CABI BioProtection Portal, being a neutral and non-profit organization. However, we are not doing this alone. Behind the scenes lies a unique collaboration between biocontrol manufacturers and other stakeholders in the bioprotection industry, together with international governmental development agencies.

All parties have the common interest and motivation to promote biological control and increase awareness and use of commercially available biopesticide and biocontrol products among growers. This is turn will stimulate market growth and further increase demand for the development and registration of more products. Advisors, consumers, government policy makers and national regulators are also therefore important users of the portal.

The advantages of being a partner or a sponsor to the portal include:

  • Supporting and being part of a global initiative aiming to create real impact in promoting the use of biocontrol
  • Increased visibility of company via the display of the company logo on the website and marketing materials that are viewed across the globe, including in countries that are not yet on the portal
  • Joining the Development Consortium – the governing body of the portal – where decisions on development and direction of the portal can be influenced

Biocontrol manufacturers, as partners, also receive:

  • Preferential listing of their products on the search results pages of both the portal and Google
  • The opportunity to add more information about their company products on the portal so users know where to purchase them and understand how to use and store them correctly
  • Unique market insights via the portal’s user analytics dashboards, including what users are searching for, in which country, and how they are interacting with the company’s products

Dr. Ulrich Kuhlmann, executive director, global operations at CABI, said, “We are always open to welcoming new partners, donors and sponsors. The more partners we have, the more comprehensive and informative the portal will be for its users.

“Together we have a collective responsibility to support the transition to a more sustainable agriculture. This movement starts from the ground, working with growers and supporting the adoption of new biological pest management strategies on their farms,” added Kuhlmann. “The CABI BioProtection Portal is one way in which we can share knowledge with growers and provide them with the information and tools they need to be the drivers of change.”

Information is critical to making decisions. Growers and advisors around the world need free information about biological control at their fingertips if we are to stimulate the further growth of this market. Biocontrol can deliver solutions that answer many of today’s pressing problems in agriculture and the environment. With the right information in the right hands, biocontrol could become a catalyst for the transformation to a more sustainable agriculture across the globe.

Find out more

You can find out more about the CABI BioProtection Portal and how to join as an associate, partner, sponsor or donor by visiting www.bioprotectionportal.com or emailing Ulrich Kulhmann at U.Kuhlmann@cabi.org.

https://informa.turtl.co/story/new-ag-intl-eng-novdec-2022/page/5/18

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