Opinions

PRIORITIZE IMPROVED PEST CONTROL METHODS TO SUSTAINABLY PRODUCE FOOD

By Guest Writer

OPINION: Dear editor, earlier models of integrated pest management (IPM) focused on ecological aspects of pest management.

With recent development in agricultural technology, modern communication tools, changing consumers trends, increased awareness for sustainability in food production system and globalization of trade and travels, there seems to be a need to revisit the IPM paradigm as appropriate for modern times.

A new model built on earlier models based on ecological and economic aspects, is expanded and reconfigured to include management, business, and sustainability aspects and emphasizes the importance of research and outreach (Dara, 2019).

As inline with sustainability aspect; IPM is mainly focused on the economic viability for both consumers and producers through minimizing economic loss my controlling the pests’ damages, also IPM is used for environmental safety due to balanced use of all available pests control options that ranges from cultural methods that include timely planting, deep ploughing, crop rotation, fallowing among others, via biological methods that involve use of biological agents or natural enemies of pests (predator-prey relationship).

Use of biopesticides derived from bacteria, fungi, plants, and at times viruses, through the use of semiochemicals which is a chemical produced by a given insect or organism to trigger changes in behaviors of other organisms of either same species or different ones, like the pheromones and allelomones in some social and some solitary insects (Raju & Sharma, 2020), via the use of insect sterilization methods (autocide) which may involve capturing and subjecting fertile male insects to x-rays or injecting them with chemicals which make them to become infertile but does not cause changes in their sexual behaviors, thus they frequently mate the females in the population once released causing no fertilization and hence no reproduction.

Synthetic chemicals (pesticides) that are used in less quantity because they have more negative impacts on the environment, also synthetic pesticides cause pests resurgence whereby some resistant traits of insects become tolerant to the commonly used pesticides and they become abundant in surroundings where they are often times used, hence they dominate in presence of such chemicals.

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These chemicals further pollute the environment because most of them are sprayed in air.

The IPM used is expected to be socially acceptable because it is aimed at food safety and affordability, the current model presents the human, environment, social and economic factors that influence the food production (Challa, 2021).

For business aspect, agriculture is taken as a part of global trade we majorly look at the producer, consumers and the seller. IPM reduces on the losses these people may have in the process.

Food produced must be affordable for a consumer and a seller realizes a profit from the sale while producer doesn’t regret for the agricultural inputs he or she makes while making sure appropriate safe food is produced on market.

For continuous proper management, the four components of management that include: knowledge and resources to develop management strategies, the management of information which involves good record keeping of the nature damages caused, effective treatment, seasonal fluctuation of the pests are vital, making timely decisions so that corrective actions are taken at right times of their application and dissemination or sharing of information among the growers, the public, the groups and many others.

The back-bone of our country, Uganda is agriculture, and therefore we ought to appreciate the fact that agricultural researchers, economists, pest management professionals, agricultural input manufacturers among others play vital roles in food production.

So, we need to have a common understanding and encourage collaboration among the different disciplines to sustainably produce food while conserving environment through the use of the various pests control techniques.

This will not only conserve the environment but also will ensure food security, job creation for many people since most rural dwellers are directly employed in agricultural sector in our country.

The writer is Ongyeer Emmanuel volunteering with Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA) in Buseruka Sub- County, Hoima District.

Disclaimer: We as UG Reports Media LTD we welcome any opinion by any one if it’s of a constructive use to the Development of Uganda. All the expressions and opinions in this write-up are not of UG Reports Media LTD but for the author of the article.

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