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Development of Australian commercial producers of invertebrate biological control agents from 1971 to 2014

Begum, Mahmuda, Lees, Edith, Ampt, Peter, Mansfield, Sarah
BioControl 2017 v.62 no.4 pp. 525-533
Citrus, biological control agents, business enterprises, growers, industry, insecticides, interviews, invertebrates, researchers, sales, stakeholders, Australia
The Australian industry producing invertebrate biological control agents (BCAs) commercially was described for the first time through interviews with company owners, citrus pest management researchers and citrus growers. This industry started with citrus pest management in 1971. Over 40 years it expanded from one company and one commercial BCA to peak at nine companies operating from 2002 to 2010. A period of consolidation resulted in five companies producing 36 commercial BCAs in 2014. Annual gross sales were <AU$10 million compared to >AU$400 million spent on insecticides. Barriers to industry growth included high costs of developing new commercial BCAs partly due to regulatory costs associated with importation of new BCAs into Australia, and low adoption of commercial BCAs due to limited access to information and training. The industry responded to these barriers by collaborating with stakeholders to develop new commercial BCAs, and developing an accreditation scheme to build technical capacity and encourage adoption.