Top marks for ‘volunteer’ candidate

SIMON Foster from Syngenta Bioline, based in Little Clacton, has won a top national award recognising his technical ability and professionalism in crop protection.

Mr Foster received the Barrie Orme trophy from Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, at a ceremony held at the Farmers Club in London.

The prize is awarded annually to the best candidate in the UK’s top crop protection qualification, the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection.

Besides the trophy, Mr Foster received vouchers for a weekend for two in London, including travel, accommodation, theatre tickets and �150 spending money.

Syngenta Bioline breeds beneficial insects and mites for the control of insect pests which can infest crops such as cucumbers, tomatoes and flowers.

Mr Foster joined the firm in 1998 as a production technician after completing a BSc degree in environmental biology and in 2005 he began working more closely with growers and their technical advisers as a quality manager.

The exam is only a requirement for those who sell and supply crop protection products, but he chose to take it because he found many customers asked which chemicals could be used with the firm’s biological products.

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Since qualifying, he has been promoted to the role of technical manger, involved in the development of new products, formulations and delivery systems.

Runners-up included Robert Jackson, trials co-ordinator for the British Society of Plant Breeders in Ely.