Rabin Adhikari has big ideas for Nepal.
“I see a Nepal with thriving local businesses that help smallholder farmers produce better crops organically,” he said.
Adhikari is the CEO of Agricare Nepal, a private concern that makes biopesticides and biomedicine products used in agricultural and veterinary practice. When Feed the Future Initiative’s Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab wanted to host a workshop to promote the use of the beneficial fungus Trichoderma, Adhikari jumped at the chance to get involved. He offered space at his office building in Bharatpur, in south central Nepal.
For three days in June of 2014, 48 scientists, professors, and extension agents from six different countries—Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Honduras, and Indonesia—gathered at the Agricare facility to learn about the production and use of the biocontrol agent as an important component of integrated pest management.
“The goal of the South-South workshop was for participants to gain a practical knowledge of the uses of Trichoderma as a biocontrol agent, particularly as regards sustainable agriculture and environmental protection,” said Muni Muniappan, director of the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, managed by Virginia Tech.
In developing countries, chemical pesticides are often used indiscriminately, causing environmental damage and creating health concerns for humans. A natural product such as Trichoderma that can increase agricultural production while at the same time keeping the health of the environment and of humans intact, is a boon.
The IPM Innovation Lab has worked with Agricare to increase the number and quality of bioproducts it produces. “We want to help privatize technology so that these beneficial practices will be self-sustaining when we leave,” Muniappan said.
Adhikari concurs. “I have learned so much from the collaboration,” he said. “The chance to network with other professionals in the field from around the world was invaluable. I hope we can continue to keep working together.”