As a member of the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) participated in the “Expert Consultation on Biopesticides and Biofertilizers for Sustainable Agriculture” held on 27-29 October 2009 in Taichung, Taiwan. Representing BAR was Assistant Director Teodoro S. Solsoloy.
The expert consultation workshop is organized by APAARI in collaboration with the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and the Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB). Need for this consultation is being felt in view of the increasing awareness for the use of biological agents as pesticides and fertilizers to achieve much needed sustainable agriculture.
According to recent studies, the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals has resulted to undesirable effects on both biotic and abiotic components of the environment. This has led to the substantial pollution of soil, air and water. Contamination of ground water is resulting to the eutrophication of lake and river waters causing depletion of oxygen and, thus, death of aquatic life, nitrate pollution, increased emissions of gaseous N and metal toxicities. The presence of nitrate in potable water has been blamed for health anomalies such as birth defects, cancer and impaired nervous system.
However, with the increasing global awareness on the harmful effects of synthetic plant protection agents and unabated production of agrochemicals, the demand for technologies and products based on biological processes has also increased leading to the development of biopesticide and biofertilizers.
Although some ASEAN countries have made significant advances in the development and use of biopesticides and biofertilizers, their potential remains largely underutilized due to variable efforts and experiences in different countries.
Given these scenarios, several technological and policy gaps have been identified and which were addressed by the consultation workshop.
The activity aimed to review the current status of research, development and use of biopesticides and biofertilizers in agriculture at the regional and national level, and to develop consensus on the place of biopesticides and biofertilizers in conventional agricultural production systems. Issues of quality requirements, quality control, regulatory management, commercialization and marketing of biopesticides and biofertilizers were also tackled. It also aimed to identify the role of public and private sector organizations and public-private participation in promoting the use of bio-agents in agriculture, and to promote stewardship.
Attending the workshop were international and national experts composed of agriculturists, agro-chemists, plant pathologists, entomologists and other professionals in sustainable agriculture and biological sciences as well as representatives from civil societies and various farmers’ organizations