25 September 2018 – The importance of biological controls in the management of agricultural pests and diseases has come into sharp focus as CABI serves to strengthen its relationships with member countries in Latin America including Colombia.
Dr Yelitza Colmenarez, Director CABI Brazil Centre and Regional Coordinator for the Plantwise programme – Latin America and the Caribbean, joined Dr Harry Evans, an Emeritus Fellow at CABI and expert in the use of fungi for the biological control of invasive weeds, pests and plant diseases, and other CABI colleagues in delivering a biological control training course as part of the Socolen 2018 congress activities, with the support from Socolen, IOBC Global and NTRS.
The training at Socolen 2018, which was organised by the Colombian Society of Entomology and the IOBC Global and NTRS was attended by students from universities across Colombia. This included scientists from Agrosavia, ICA, CIAT, the National University of Colombia and Valley University, Cali, Colombia, Militar University of New Granada and the University of Florida. The CABI team also took part in a seminar regarding the sustainable production and biological control in Latin America. As part of this they highlight a number of advances in biological control including an introduction to CABI tools – the CABI Crop Protection Compendium and Invasive Species Compendium – as well as CABI’s activities and programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean (Plantwise).
The International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) promotes environmentally safe methods of pest and disease control. CABI has been working in different initiatives activities with the IOBC looking forward to promote the use of Biological Control agents as part of sustainable methods of control. Dr Colmenarez is the former president of the IOBC NTRS and part of the advisory group.
Dr Colmenarez and Dr Evans were also invited to deliver keynote presentations about the importance of biological control in the management of present and potential invasive species in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as symbiotic interactions between arthropods and fungi respectively.
Dr Harry Evans presents at Socolen 2018
Dr Colmenarez said, “Colombia is one CABI’s member countries from Latin America – with a very diverse agroecosystem and a growing agri-business. The diverse climatic conditions allow for the production of a wide range of tropical and temperate-zone crops that includes some of the most important commodities such as coffee, bananas and cacao.
“We were happy to deliver a biological control training course at the request of our Colombian partners and deliver keynote speeches on the very latest science in the field. The activities as a whole provided a very good opportunity to interact with key Colombian partners – giving us the chance to discuss new areas of collaboration.”
Dr Colmenarez added that the participation of the Colombia Mr Emilio Arevalo Peñaranda enriched the discussions about the major invasive species that can get introduced and established in Colombia and allowed for the discussion of key activities to prioritize and the contingency plans that need to be put in place.
Read about how the recent CABI Americas and Caribbean regional consultation focussed on the impact of invasive species on food security and trade in this story.