The International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association, or IBMA, acts as the voice for the biocontrol industry. Headquartered in Brussels, it has over 200 members across the globe.
So, what is biocontrol? Biocontrol - A.K.A 'biological control' - is used to manage pests, weeds and diseases in agriculture, as well as home, garden and forestry. Biological control technologies originate from nature. They are proven alternatives to the use of chemical pesticides for pest management, so they benefit biodiversity, soil health and water quality. Such benefits are crucial in the context of consumer demand for food safety, human health and protection of the environment. Indeed, a 2023 report by McKinsey - The Agricultural Transition: Building a Sustainable Future - stated that biologicals are the second most effective decarbonisation measure in the transition to sustainable agriculture.
Examples of biocontrol include invertebrates (such as ladybird larvae - used to tackle aphid infestations), pheromones (chemical messengers used by species for communication) and funghi to manage pests or diseases on crops.
Curious PR helps manage IBMA's social media channels, launching campaigns to educate the public on the value of biocontrol, while staying up to date with key, urgent EU policy moments across all platforms.
In 2023, we also secured a live interview for IBMA Executive Director, Jennifer Lewis, on BBC World News which was broadcast to a weekly audience of around 100M people across the globe. In the interview, she highlighted the importance of biocontrol to control harmful organisms and pests, as part of our essential transition to sustainable agriculture. The market for biocontrol products is large and growing - worth €1.4Bn in 2021, but experts argue the need for accelerated access to these products for farmers around the world.
This important interview in BBC World News followed some insightful sessions with our super experienced media coach, a former science reporter, Kate Chacksfield.
We are proud to be working with this industry association to facilitate a future which better supports sustainable agriculture and nature-based practices. Whilst certain regions have embraced biocontrol wholeheartedly, others have far further to go. Might the mid 2020s see us witness more of the likes of Albufera, Spain, where 16,000 hectares of Arborio rice (much loved by paella fans) are under effective biocontrol use?
As ever, Nature holds so many of the solutions to our biggest problems. We just have to support it to do so!