The Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Asian Productivity Organization cooperated for the fifth consecutive year and on April 28 held the “5th APO International Conference on Biofertilizers and Biopesticides” (ICBB) at the Howard Civil Service International House in Taipei. Delegates from a total of 15 APO member states attended. Building on the accomplishments of the preceding four ICBBs, for this year’s event research and discussion focused on the commercialization and marketing of agricultural microbial materials. There was comprehensive discussion of everything from policy and legal frameworks to the widespread diffusion of products, laying the groundwork for industrialization of safe agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region.
The COA points out that according to a survey conducted by the company MarketsandMarkets, in 2020 the global market for biofertilizers was US$2.3 billion, and it is expected to reach US$3.9 billion in 2025. Meanwhile, the market for biopesticides should reach US$8.5 billion in 2025. These figures suggest the importance and enormous potential for development in the future international markets for biofertilizers and biopesticides. In order to develop the international market for the relevant domestic industries and understand management norms, during the ICBB held in 2015 the COA proposed the concept of regional industrial development and cooperation. This idea received a positive response from experts and representatives from member states, and shortly thereafter the COA proposed to the APO that they organize a five-year program of APO ICBBs; the APO approved the proposal.
The ICBBs from 2016 through 2019 completed their tasks, covering everything from the laws and regulations of member states, their management approaches, and research into and applications of new technology to market demand and development, education and training, and regional cooperation. The 5th ICBB, originally scheduled to be held in 2020, was postponed to this year (2021) because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and two formats were used simultaneously: an actual meeting for domestic participants and a videoconference for overseas participants. A total of 49 people from Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam joined in, along with 30 attendees and 40 observers from Taiwan. This final ICBB in the series not only focused on commercialization and marketing of microbial materials, but also reviewed accomplishments of the whole ICBB program, which helped to promote wider use of biofertilizers and biopesticides.
The COA states that with the five-year program of conferences now over, in the future people can continue to use the Asia Pacific Biofertilizers and Biopesticides (APBB) platform to engage in information exchange about things like policies, laws and regulations, research results, and products. Not only have the whole ICBB program and the APBB raised Taiwan’s international visibility in the field of biofertilizers and biopesticides, even more they highlight the contributions made by Taiwan toward sustainable agricultural development in the Asia-Pacific region.