The inaugural Biocontrol Africa and the 16th NewAG conference and exhibition kicked off in Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya in week 12. The Biocontrol conference took place on the 19th and 20th March, attracting close to 300 delegates from Africa and beyond. This included representation from Koppert BV, Koppert South Africa, Koppert Kenya and our strategic partners from India. The aim of the conference was to bring together biological companies to discuss amongst other things, regulatory affairs and experiences on biocontrol from around the globe. Some key sessions included bioinsectides and biocontrol of invasive plants and diseases.
As one of the keynote speakers, Koppert managing director, Henri Oosthoek, gave a presentation on 50 years of biocontrol history, making reference to Koppert’s pioneering experience. Henri emphasized that these are interesting times for biocontrol and that the subject has never been more relevant than it is 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 with governments, for greater impact.
In the second session of the programme, Koppert Kenya’s general manager, 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 stirred the audience into an engaging discussion regarding the prospects of small-holder farmers adopting biological control and IPM.
The 16th NewAG conference & exhibition started on the 21st of March 2018 at the same venue. The conference gathered more than 300 delegates and close to 60 exhibitors from different companies. The focus of the conference was on the topics: Specialty Plant Nutrition; Biostimulants and Biofertilisers; and Precision Agriculture. Koppert was represented in this conference with a presentation on biological seed dressing of cereals -the case of Panoramix in East Africa. This presentation was given by Charles Macharia.
On the sidelines of the conference, Koppert organized an event dubbed “Koppert Biocontrol Dinner” on Tuesday 20th. The dinner was an invite-only event that saw numerous partners and stakeholders from both private and public institutions attend. The goal of the African-themed event was to expound on the subject of Scaling. Jan Ubels of SNV, an expert on the subject gave a talk on the topic. Peter Maes, the corporate marketing director at Koppert Netherlands, ended the session with a call for all present to partner with Koppert in its endeavours.
The highlight of the dinner event, was the signing of the CABI and Koppert Agreement on IPM training of plant doctors in Kenya. The IPM module aims to equip existing plant doctors with more practical knowledge and skills related to Integrated Pest and Disease Management in small holder farms. Ulrich Kuhlmann (Executive Director, Global Operations, CABI) and Henri Oosthoek gratefully accepted a contributory cheque from Koppert Foundation that was handed by Ed Moerman.