The market for biological control has been experiencing its fourth revolution and Brazil is one of the leaders at this stage and will target crops complementing the use of traditional chemical pesticides.
According to Integrate Plague Management Researcher Alexandre de Sene Pinto, a lecturer at the Brazilian Forum of Pesticides, the application of biological pesticides will touch 15 million hectares treated in the country this year, considering the total number of product application per area covered.
The sector has grown on average by 16% and 20% annually, said a consultant at an event promoted by the Brazilian Association of Biological Control Companies held in Sao Paulo.
Among the states that use more bio-pesticides are Sao Paulo, Goias, Mato Grosso, and Minas Gerais. Products based on the fungus Trichoderma sp. are the most applied with a surface superior to five million hectares, according to Pinto.
This expansion was possible thanks to the advances made in technology for production, management, and adoption of innovation. “In macro-biologicals, for instance, currently drones are responsible for 35% of the application of 1.7 million hectares of Trichogramma galloi. The airplane is still the most common with 50%.”
The consultant also cited research that shows the reasons for which rural producers adopt the biological products: 29% confirmed it to be the ineffectiveness of agrochemicals or GMOs. Other reasons are the prohibition of some products and the appearance of new plagues. “Only 2% apply the product for environmental awareness, which shows that the issue of profitability is still strong.”
On the other hand, he also highlighted that the barriers for a greater advance of bio-pesticides, being that 51% of them are connected to the lack of information on biotechnology. “A strong paradigma change would be the obligatory inclusion of universities with the course of Agrarian Sciences of a disciple of Technological Application of Biopesticides,” said Pinto.
For Glenio Martins de Lima Mariano, president of the Technical and Rural Assistance Company of the state of Minas Gerais (Emater–MG), this lack of knowledge is a reality and needs to be worked in a way that the dissemination of information reaches all farmers. “The biological agents have great growth potential of consumption, but very few dominate this technology,” Mariano said.
Lower environmental degradation, lower risk of contamination of the worker, general improvement of soil conditions and less toxic residue in the final production. These are the main benefits reported at the presentation of Success Stories of Producers that used bio-pesticides during the Forum.