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Cost-benefit Analysis Of Crop Protection Measures

J. Popp
Published 2011 · Biology

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Reducing pesticide use can provide growers with direct economic benefits by decreasing the cost of inputs and increasing net returns. Chemical pesticides will continue to play a role in pest management for the future. In many situations, the benefits of pesticide use are high relative to the risks or there are no practical alternatives. The number and diversity of biological sources will increase, and products that originate in chemistry laboratories will be designed for particular target sites. Innovations in pesticide delivery systems in plants promise to reduce adverse environmental impacts even further. The correct use of pesticides can deliver significant socio-economic and environmental benefits in the form of safe, healthy, affordable food; and enable sustainable farm management by improving the efficiency with which we use natural resources such as soil, water and overall land use. Some alternative methods may be more costly than conventional chemical-intensive agricultural practices, but often these comparisons fail to account for the high environmental and social costs of pesticide use. Genetically engineered organisms that reduce pest pressure constitute a “new generation” of pest management tools. The use of transgenic crops will probably maintain or even increase the need for effective resistance management programmes. However, there remains a need for new chemicals that are compatible with ecologically based pest management and applicator and worker safety. Evaluation of the effectiveness of biocontrol agents should involve consideration of long-term impacts rather than only short-term yield, as is typically done for conventional practices. The justifications of government intervention in the management of pest control include the need to address the externality problems associated with the human and environmental health effects of pesticides.
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