11 August 2023, Malaysia: CABI has renewed its agreement to work in partnership with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI).
This is part of joint efforts to help ensure greater sustainable food security in Malaysia through the Joint Laboratory platform – conducting research and development in areas of mutual interest.
Specifically, the agreement means CABI and MARDI will see steps taken to increase the latter’s capacity in biocontrol, prevention and management of invasive species, the development of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions and the conservation, exploitation and utilization and exchange of biological resources.
The MoU will also see CABI and MARDI working to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and the use of safer-to-use and environmentally-friendly bioprotection products to fight crop pests and diseases such as the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), diamondback moth, and stemborers and leaf-feeders of rice.
CABI’s Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, Executive Director, Global Operations, and Dr Babar Bajwa, Senior Regional Director, Asia, took part in the MoU signing ceremony online while Dr Feng Zhang, Regional Director, East & South-East Asia, joined in person.
Also in attendance from CABI was Sally Stone, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Asia-Pacific, Dr Muhammad Faheem, ICM Advisor, East and South-East Asia, and Dr Sathis Sri Thanarajoo, Senior Scientist, East and South-East Asia.
Dr Mohamad Zabawi Bin Abdul Ghani, Director General, MARDI, signed the MoU in person and gave an opening remark.
Dr Mohamad Zabawi Bin Abdul Ghani said, “As we come together to renew our MoU, we acknowledge the importance of collaboration and positive impact for respective countries and organizations under CABI’s networking.
“This MoU has served as a framework for our endeavours and facilitating the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources. Today, we have the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to these principles and build upon the progress we have made so far.
“Furthermore, the Steering Committee Meeting under this agreement will also be an invaluable platform for open dialogue and constructive discussions where we can address challenges, explore new opportunities, and forge pathways towards a stronger and more prosperous future.
“Together, let us seize this moment to deepen our understanding of each other’s priorities, explore areas for collaboration, and identify concrete steps to translate our shared aspirations into tangible outcomes.”
Dr Kuhlmann responded, “CABI and MARDI had had long standing partnership. Under this renewed collaboration framework, both sides will jointly conduct research and development in areas of mutual interest, and develop project proposals and seek international, regional or national funds for the collaborative programmes and projects.
“Through the MARDI-CABI Joint Laboratory platform, which mirrors the one in China between CABI and MARA, we plan to increase the capacity of MARDI in biological control, strengthen the development of IPM solutions, and increase use of biocontrol products in the agro-ecosystem of Malaysia.”
With financial support from MARDI and technical support from CABI, a fully functional Trichogramma rearing facility has been already established through the Joint Laboratory platform in MARDI to support research and development of Trichogramma sp.
CABI’s regional centre in Malaysia works across the whole of South East Asia region which is still largely agriculture-dependent, very biodiversity-rich and environmentally-fragile.
This centre’s work is wide-ranging. It includes sustainable pest and disease management, invasive species prevention and management, and work around plant health, biosecurity and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues.
Also important is work looking at sustainable production techniques and commodity chains, as well as information management and access to knowledge.
Last year, for example, CABI was commissioned by AgBiTech – a global leader in biological solutions to help create healthy food systems – to test the success of the company’s Lepigen® against diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) on cabbage and Fawligen® to fight fall armyworm on maize and beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) on salad vegetables.
The diamondback moth is a major widespread pest of crucifers grown in the Cameron Highlands and lowland of Malaysia causing up 90% yield losses. Globally, the pest of estimated to cost up to US $5 billion a year in damaged crops.
Malaysia is a valued founding member of CABI and the regional centre in Malaysia was established in 1988. Part of the country’s membership benefits include free insect and microbial identification service for up to 20 samples and free access to products such as the Pest Risk Analysis Tool via the CABI Compendium.
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