I was delighted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research last week. Below is a copy of the Media Release that was published to support the signing.

Plant & Food Research has joined a global initiative looking at finding new ways to control plant pests and diseases.

The Platform10 initiative is an international collaboration that aims to speed up the development of new biological control products for protecting crops against pests and diseases. Plant & Food Research has joined the collaboration, which aims to conduct trials in New Zealand and Australia.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Plant & Food Research CEO Mark Piper and Peter Wren-Hilton of Wharf42 on behalf of Platform 10.

“Platform 10 was formed to help give growers confidence in adopting new biological alternatives to pest and disease control as global regulations around pesticide use tighten,” says Peter Wren-Hilton. “By providing a mechanism for growers to engage at the research phase, through field trials, we hope to increase understanding and uptake of these new biological products. Plant & Food Research has a strong track record in developing biocontrols and taking them through to the commercialisation phase, so were the ideal partner for us in New Zealand, working in the counter season to our trials in the USA.”

“Growers and marketers are increasingly looking for new ways to manage insect pests and diseases on their land that are more environmentally sustainable,” says Miriam Hall from Plant & Food Research. “We’re excited to be working with Platform10 to support validation of new products at the research stage and help growers understand how they can transition to new management protocols that incorporate biological controls into their crop management.”

Platform10 emerged from the 2023 Salinas Biological Summit where it became apparent that a global framework to accelerate promising biopesticide companies, rigorously assess products, enhance grower confidence, and facilitate market development and adoption was required. Launched in California in November 2023, Platform10 was established to bring growers to the centre of the innovation ecosystem. Platform10 will provide other key stakeholder groups within the specialty crop sector with the opportunity of learning about these problems and challenges at first hand.