Questions for ROGER THRIPATHI, CEO & Founder: BioAg Linkages and BioAg Innovations
Well, what to say… you are the soul of the BioAg World Congress, tell us, please, how was the Bio Ag World Congress born? Do you have a story like Steve Jobs’ garage?… Please share! 😉
For me, the soul of the BAW Congress is my dedicated team, I am just a dreamer who has a vision and likes to execute it 100%. Thanks to my BioAg world community which we are all part of, we could feel the difference this event could bring forward.
The most important highlight was to bring the whole BioAg World community together after such difficult years with four mottos, Share, Connect, Harmonize and Celebrate.
Our industry lacked an event which could be «the event by the industry and for the industry», meaning and event managed and coordinated by hardcore industry professionals, who have genuine passion farmers and sustainable agriculture. We feel we were able to achieve that goal and are ready to take it to the next level in BAW Rio in 2023. We are not an event company; our heart is in it, and that makes the difference. I hope our friends saw that.
Additionally, what do you feel right now? How did you feel when you saw the project become a reality? Are you satisfied with BAW 2022?
We started in 2019 with a bang, as there was a clear gap in our segment. 2020 was taken away by Covid. Our 2021 virtual event was rated as one of the best virtual events that time. The industry had seen vented in the last six months, and I think they were ready for an event with the soul. I am extremely grateful and of course delighted with the results, the energy, camaraderie, and appreciation I felt was very motivational, we are all geared up for BAW 2023 in Rio, we want to make it even bigger and better.
How did you manage it Roger, tell us the secret? How is it possible to organize a worldwide event like BAW? Are there any secrets?
The secret is sincerity and passion for our industry, for sustainable agriculture, for farmer and consumer centricity. The secret is the BioAg World community and their support, without them this event is not possible. Last but not the least the secret is my team, without them it was impossible.
How did it feel to be surrounded for 3 days by the best professionals in the BioAg industry? What about the CEO’s panel for the event grand finale you guys prepared? Was amazingly interesting, right?
I already mentioned you, our attendees, and sponsors are family for me. It was a family reunion, and we plan to do this family reunion each year, to raise the bar for our industry, bring more and more innovations to the farmers.
Most of the folks you all met this week have been my colleagues over the years, I never treated any one of them as competitors. All panels were crafted very carefully, and the CEO panel was kept for the finale, because I knew my CEO friends led by Giuseppe Natale would be inspirational for the entire audience and they didn’t disappoint.
Can you believe none left the auditorium despite the time being past 8pm. That’s the difference we want to bring, next year in Rio, you would hear from other result oriented CEOs.
If you had to highlight a moment of BAW2022, what would it be? Why?
There were several highlights, but if I must pick a few, would be the young girl Vedika talking about plastic pollution, and challenging all of us as to why we destroy our environment. Her grandfather, Dr. Venkatesh from AgriLife receiving the lifetime achievement award and Vedika showing that with the next generation, we are in safe hands.
Another highlight was showcasing sustainability efforts by Hello Nature. I would hope that more and more companies would come forward and share their tangible contributions to sustainable agriculture. Additionally, that’s the advantage of living a life where pursuing sustainable agriculture is our day-to-day life, therefore I kept the development agenda to myself.
We wanted to create an agenda which is comprehensive and integrated with all aspects of bioagriculture practices. Every session, speakers, panellists, and innovations papers were chosen very carefully, with keen attention on crisp messaging with tangible results. All parts of the agenda were independent by session but connecting all the dots. I have been attending such events for a long time hence I knew what are the things we want to avoid, and what are the musts, thanks to the scientific committee led by prof. Giuseppe Colla and all the speakers, we could present a well-balanced content which had enough science but also interesting to business folks.dirigido por el profesor Giuseppe Colla y a todos los ponentes, pudimos presentar un contenido bien equilibrado, con suficiente contenido científico, pero también interesante para los empresarios.
Any take-home messages you would like to share with us?
Several, we will publish all them in our magazine BioAg World Digest. To name a few, the biggest take home messages were, we need to wake up to pursue sustainable agriculture TODAY not tomorrow, we need to simplify & harmonize regulation and last but not the least we have to walk the talk with passion.
And finally, let’s give a touch of humor to this interview, … your Spanish friends really want to know …. What did you think of Valencia? Did you like the paella?
I love humour as you have seen but I can’t give a touch of humour to such an important FACT. I love Valencia and Spain, that’s why I chose this venue. The weather, the people and of course my favourite food ‘paella’. Every time I came to Valencia, I enjoyed Paella. I have been coming to Valencia since 2004, enjoyed several Fallas and fun things, Spain has become my second home.
Questions for PAM MARRONE, Executive Chair and Partner at Primary BioAg Innovations and Global BioAg Linkages
What did you think of the BAW 2022 celebration in Valencia? What experiences or moments would you highlight?
After more than two years without seeing people in person due to Covid, it was excellent getting together in person to chat, discuss, and brainstorm. The energy in the room reinforced that we are at the tipping point with biologicals going mainstream! Climate change, the need to improve soil health, reduce carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of agriculture are driving growth of biologicals along with the fact that these products offer growers a return on investment in addition to all the other environmental benefits. Seeing the combination of successful established European companies and startups from all over the world was inspiring.
So exciting to see the cluster of BioAg companies in Spain.
You were quite attentive to the presentations, including several interventions as moderator or closing sessions, what do you think about the technical level and quality of the speakers? any intervention or content to highlight?
Yes, I took a lot of notes and will write a report about what I heard. I learned details about new products, technologies and companies I was not previously familiar with. The program and speakers were excellent and packed with interesting information.
I loved the entrepreneurs and new product showcase – companies such as BigSis, PlantArcBio, Elemental Enzymes, Root Applied Sciences, Altus, Plant Ditech and new adjuvants from Evonik. AquaYield Clark Bell’s inspiring presentation showed how he was able to gain grower adoption in US large row crops with nano-adjuvant technology to reduce chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Being a serial entrepreneur CEO myself, I particularly enjoyed hearing the wisdom and advice from the BioAg CEOs; key message being hire and retain people who believe in biologicals and are aligned with your vision and values.
What about the field visits or experiences? What differential value do they bring to BAW and why are they important for the event as a whole?
The tour of the vineyards using ProBelte’s Buhlnova product, winery and IdaiNature HQ and field station were inspiring. It was great to see a biostimulant being used to reduce chemical fertilizer in the vineyard and how new plant-extracted biopesticides are being developed with collaboration of the Spanish government and grower cooperatives and how the field station can accelerate generation of data in product development.
The tours are critical to see real world successful applications and grower adoption in the field.
Do you have any summary or take-home messages you would like to share with us about the BAW Congress Valencia edition?
There is nothing better than getting people together in person to share ideas and find ways to further drive biologicals in agriculture. Valencia was an exceptional venue to hold the Congress because of the existence of so many successful BioAg companies in Spain. Clearly, biologicals are becoming mainstream, companies are growing and maturing and there is an exciting ecosystem of new startups driving innovation.
And finally, an obligatory question: What did you think of the paella? Did you enjoy Valencia?
I always love paella. I love to cook but paella is not a dish I make at home so having it in Spain is special. Valencia is a beautiful city. The architecture of the buildings and sculptures where we had the conference made the conference venue even better.
Questions for ROGER PLANA, Associated Business Partner and MD of EMEA, organizer of the event
How do you feel after organizing one of the biggest, if not the biggest BioAg event in Spain or even in Southern Europe?
It has been a once in a life challenge that I was honoured to take part of.
The efforts done by BAW Congress team were rewarded beyond expectations as participants really enjoyed the conferences, networking, exhibition and side events. We have been able to put a very comprehensive agenda with top keynote speakers and very special panel meetings that has rarely been seen in other forums. Valencia as venue and the chosen dates had been a key successful point.
How do you feel about it being held in Spain?
Spain is my hometown and I really enjoyed hosting the event here!
It was a great opportunity to meet in person again colleagues and relevant people in the industry. Also, the fact that Spain is considered an innovator ground in many aspects in the agriculture value chain was crucial to attract global audience, specially from North America and LATAM.
Regarding the institutional support received, which has been notorious, would you like to highlight some details about it?
Totally, Valencia government showed total support from early times which in fact was crucial to move the venue to ‘Museo De las Ciencias’ in such a wonderful and futuristic building. Also their real investment in biological projects such as the second biggest sterile insect technique bio plant near Valencia (Alcaudete) which is a method of biological insect control for citrus pests among other projects in IVIA and University of Valencia (UPV) demonstrate their true support in adopting biological integrated pest management and organic farming.
What has been the general reception regarding the event and its celebration in Spain?
Tremendously good! All main players and agronomists across the value chain did take an active role in the organization and participation. Special thanks to the Official College of Agronomists of Levante (COIAL) and the Spanish Agricultural Nutrients Manufacturers Association (AEFA). All confirmed that it was good conference and networking opportunities to cooperate and set the main course of near year’s challenges for adopting biologicals
What feelings have the local companies and/or Spanish capital companies that have participated in BAW transmitted to you?
Despite having other event commitments on same dates, local companies put trust on the BioAg World Congress to showcase their main developments, calls for cooperation, generating new business with international partners and support discussions on regards on the main challenges industry will face in the next years to come forward (regulation, sustainability framework, research, farmer adoption, consumer demand…).
Do you think they can be satisfied with the networking done?
With the 650+ participants from over 220 companies and 44 countries it was indeed a great opportunity to establish new contacts and meet again with acquaintances.
If you had to highlight a moment of BAW2022, what would it be? Why did you choose it?
Celebrating the end of the congress with more than 250+ people, in such a good atmosphere, was the most rewarding and enjoyable part to close the efforts put in the congress with great satisfaction.
We are now much looking forward to celebrating again in Rio on 2023!