Brazil recognizes ISCA CEO for scientific innovation and entrepreneurship

Agenor Mafra-Neto.
Agenor Mafra-Neto. (Click here for high res pic)

ISCA President and CEO Agenor Mafra-Neto, Ph.D., will be the recipient of the prestigious Brazilian Diaspora Award at a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The prize from the Brazilian government recognizes exceptional Brazilian expatriates for their contributions to science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, as well as for building a positive image of Brazil worldwide.

A citizen of Brazil and the United States, Dr. Mafra-Neto will moderate an expert panel discussion about innovations in agricultural technology and later receive the award during a ceremony at the embassy.

“I am humbled to be recognized by the Brazilian Embassy,” said Mafra-Neto, who is now based in Riverside, Calif.  “Brazil has always been at the forefront of agricultural innovations needed to feed the world. Agriculture as we know it is reaching its limit, but needed transformations are coming. Science and industry are joining forces to respond to society’s increasing needs for secure food supplies while also preserving the environment. We are finding a way.”

Dr. Mafra-Neto grew up near the farms owned by his family in Rio Grande Do Sul, the most southern state of Brazil, where he developed a love for agriculture and biology. As an undergraduate student at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, he witnessed the untapped power of pheromones and other semiochemicals—natural compounds emitted by plants and animals that affect animal behavior—to control problem insects without harm to the environment. While also serving as a senior research associate at the University of California back 1996, he formed ISCA Technologies to provide semiochemical products to growers around the globe.  Today ISCA brings together talented people to develop innovations and expand its global marketing reach to meet the world’s demands for safe pest control that reduce the use of toxic, conventional pesticides.

The scientific knowledge and experience of the Brazilian diaspora can benefit the development of Brazil as long as there are open networks connecting the geographies.

“As a researcher from Brazil, I went abroad in search of knowledge and to get my Ph.D. under an amazing chemical ecologist. I became an academic and then an entrepreneur. It is much easier to create bridges of knowledge today than when I left. The internet has facilitated the creation of a dynamic and globally interconnected community, facilitating cross-border collaboration independent of distance. Air travel allows us to be across the globe overnight. Today I interact closely with hundreds of scientists, foreign and Brazilian, working on targeted problems developing semiochemical solutions for agriculture and vector control in Brazil and in other geographies, creating and exchanging knowledge,” said Mafra-Neto.

Media Contact: David Danelski, ISCA Communications Director, (951) 686-5008, office; (951) 850-0143, cell;

Keywords: Brazil, farming, agriculture, diaspora, pest control, pheromones, semiochemicals, insects, agriculture, fall armyworm, integrated pest management, IPM, corn, cotton, soybean, maize.