We are facing a global food crisis. Therefore, agriculture, as we understand it today, will not be enough to keep up with the XXI century needs. By 2050, more than 9.7 billion people will live on Earth. This, combined with the haunting threat of climate change poses a dilemma on future food availability and agricultural productivity. On top of this, plant diseases and pests keep mining the effort of farmers to succeed at providing safe and quality food worldwide. 

Plant diseases cause an annual worldwide crop loss of $220 billion. The intensification of agriculture and excessive agrochemical use has allowed for resistant phytopathogenic organisms to thrive.  (Olivo, 2020). Approximately, 36,5% of all crops produced widely are destroyed by pests and diseases. Therefore, we need to take action immediately to address this challenge by adapting alternative crop protection strategies.

crop destruction by pests

Source: Agrios, 2005

Biopesticides appeared on the scene following new demand in the plant protection market. The desire for products with agronomic durability, economic feasibility, and environmental friendliness has phased out conventional pesticides.

What are biopesticides and how can they help?

Biopesticides are compounds that are used to manage and control agricultural pests. In short, they specifically target the cause instead of using broader chemical pesticides. EPA has classified biopesticides into the following:

  • Microbial pesticides use microorganisms or bioactive molecules produced by them with the ability to antagonize, suppress and control pests (Agrios, 2005). Furthermore, soil microorganisms play a crucial role in the mobilization of soil nutrients, improving nutrient and water uptake by plant crops. For instance, Bacillus thuringiensis stands out by leading the market with a biopesticide production of 90%. 

  • Biochemical Pesticides are naturally occurring substances produced by plants. For example, extracts and insect pheromones with the capability of producing changes in behavior and pest control.

  • Plant incorporated protectants (PIPs) are substances produced by plants that have genetic material added through genetic engineering. Scientific innovation is so advanced the plant can directly produce the substance that destroys the pest.

Biopesticides are associated with a higher environmental safety as they are composed of biodegradable compounds. Moreover, they are effective in small quantities. Also, they are highly efficient and have a lower rate of resistance development compared to chemical pesticides. Over and above, biopesticides can be used in integrated strategies, with traditional pesticides working together to increase crop yields and extend application timing. They are key for the transition to a more sustainable agriculture!

How strong is the biopesticide market?

Today, biopesticides cover only 2% of the plant protectants used globally, with around 1400 biopesticide products being sold. In 2019 the global biopesticides market size was USD 4.40 billion. However, it’s foreseen to reach USD 10.63 billion by 2027, showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% during the forecast period.

Further, to create a new synthetic pesticide, it is usually needed around USD 250 million and 9 years for development and regulatory approval. On the other hand, a biopesticide needs less than USD 10 million and 4 years for the same process. As a result, this considerable difference has skyrocketed the use of biopesticides by small companies who want to reduce R&D costs (Mordor Intelligence).

Today, there are stricter pesticide regulatory requirements imposed by the EU. The ban of some of the major used conventional pesticides has played in favor of biopesticides. Consequently leading to a high shift of investment from conventional pesticides to biopesticides, with Syngenta AG and Bayer Crop Science as some of the key industry players.

An agricultural revolution is happening right now! Don’t stay behind.

Finally, at Fauna Smart Technologies we can guide you through the transition to more efficient and beyond sustainable farming practices. So, if you want to be a part of a true green revolution contact us for more information at info@fstech.nu

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