The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) recently marked the successful culmination of the “Asia Pesticide Residue Mitigation through the Promotion of Biopesticides and Enhancement of Trade Opportunities” project with a closing workshop held at the Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada on 23-24 January 2024. The event brought together approximately 35 participants, including representatives from the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) team, country partners, technical teams, and private industries such as CropLife Asia and Jagro Fresh Sri Lanka.
The workshop served as a platform for participants to reflect on the transformative journey of the project, which aimed to champion the adoption of biopesticides complementing chemical pesticides to reduce the pesticide residue levels in the crops. Funded by STDF, this initiative was implemented by APAARI from February 2020 to December 2023 in nine countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and sought to promote the use of biopesticides while addressing trade concerns related to pesticide residues.
Through extensive support and training provided by the project team, study teams across the participating countries are now equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote safe and sustainable agricultural practices. The project focused on capacity building and awareness activities related to new Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) data interpretation, improved practices in manufacturing microbial pesticides, regulatory harmonization, and extension and outreach activities. Key outcomes of the project, such as the successful integration of biopesticides alongside conventional pesticides to reduce pesticide MRLs, were highlighted during the workshop.
The closing workshop facilitated fruitful discussions on potential pathways forward and the formulation of a robust sustainability strategy. The project team and the country partners summarized project activities, challenges, outcomes, and lessons learned, paving the way for continued collaboration and knowledge sharing in the field of biopesticide research and implementation.
Dr. Ravi Khetarpal, Executive Director of APAARI, expressed his gratitude to all participants for their invaluable contributions to the project’s success. He emphasized the importance of regional collaboration and capacity building in addressing trade concerns related to pesticide residues while promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
The APAARI team provided support and training to study teams, focusing on capacity building and awareness activities related to new MRL data interpretation, improved practices in manufacturing microbial pesticides, regulatory harmonization, and extension and outreach activities.
Overall, the closing workshop of the biopesticide project served as a testament to the dedication and collaborative efforts of the stakeholders in advancing agricultural sustainability and promoting biopesticide use across the Asia-Pacific region. As the project concludes, APAARI will continue to promote the activities and outputs initiated through the project to contribute significantly to the region’s agricultural sector and trade for years to come.