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Push for a move to biopesticides

Media Release 9 February, 2000

Push for a move to biopesticides

Biopesticides are recognised as a safe, toxic-residue-free alternative to chemicals and the need for more development in their use for the prevention of pest damage to crops has been recognised by a group of experts from several countries who attended a biopesticides workshop in Auckland.

The workshop was sponsored by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, the UNESCO Regional Network for Microbiology and Microbial Biotenchnology in Southeast Asia, and HortResearch.

The participants recognised the role of applied microbiology for the enhancement of environmental sustainability and called for a regional, co-operative approach to research on biopesticides and bioremediation.

They agreed that pesticide pollution of foodstuffs is a regional issue that cannot be resolved without a concerted effort by the countries of the Asia/Pacific region. They recognised the potential of biocontrol and proposed that a regional initiative to biopesticides development be supported by the regional governments.

The potential for biopesticides development was discussed by the expert group of researchers from Asia and New Zealand at the two-day workshop, they identified many common problems, shared experiences gained in individual country programmes, and identified the synergy that could be obtained through co-operative research projects.

"In the interests of a clean regional environment, the New Zealand Government needs to declare biopesticide research as a key development strategy, and to encourage co-operative research in the Asia/Pacific region," said Dr Chris Hale, a microbiologist with HortResearch and a member of the co-ordinating board of the UNESCO Regional Network.



A result of the workshop a Biopesticides Network has been established in New Zealand to accelerate research on alternative green technologies to chemical pesticides and to overcome institutional barriers to scientific developments. The Network will interact closely with a similar network being established under the auspices of UNESCO in Southeast Asia. The Workshop group also recommended that a special symposium on biopesticides be held at the New Zealand Plant Protection Society Conference later this year.

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For further information please contact:
Dr Chris Hale, HortResearch, Mt Albert Research Centre, Tel: 09 815 4200. Fax: 09 815 4207. Mobile: 025 749 142. Email: chale@hort.cri.nz
Or
Liz Brook, Communications Manager, HortResearch, Tel: 06 351 7000 Ext 7749
Fax: 06 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912 A/h: 06 328 9836 Email: lbrook@hort.cri.nz

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