Biotech company awarded grant to fast-track biopesticide product development and reduce use of harmful pesticides
Bionema Ltd, a leading biotech company, has received a grant award from the Welsh Government’s SMART Cymru of £100,000 to further develop biopesticides that could help combat major plant pests and reduce the use of harmful pesticides.
The £100,000 grant was awarded under the SMART Cymru scheme. Bionema is engaged in the research, development and commercialisation of innovative products which utilise natural microorganisms (insect-killing fungi, bacteria, nematodes) for the control of pest and disease of horticultural, turf amenity and forestry sectors.
The funding will be used to further develop and commercialise a granular formulation of bioinsecticide for the control of a major insect pest (thrips, aphids, whitefly, spider mites, weevils etc) which causes annual losses of £40 million to the UK horticultural industry, and over £4 billion worldwide. This pest has become even more problematic since one of the widely used insecticides (Chlorpyrifos) was banned by the European Union in 2016 due to health concerns.
The project will provide a natural, organic and sustainable solution to controlling this highly-damaging pest, addressing both the economic burden of infestations and the toxic burden of harmful chemicals in the environment.
Dr Minshad Ali Ansari, founder and CEO of Bionema, has worked on crop protection solutions for nearly two decades. He said:
“We are honoured to receive the Welsh Government’s SMART Cymru £100,000 grant funding, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. This grant will enable us to fast-track our ongoing product registration, allowing the benefits to quickly feed back into the crop protection industry. We believe this ground-breaking technology will empower the global biocontrol community”.
Dr Ansari added:
“We are living in very crucial times for food production and land management. Safe, responsible and sustainable food production is a cornerstone of the continued survival of life, and some of the most exciting solutions to the biggest problems facing food production are to be found within nature. Many biopesticides are already being developed or used successfully, and others are well within our grasp. In fact, I believe Europe can be free of its reliance upon toxic pesticides by 2050.”