Agriculture Experts Stress Need for Enhancing Use of Biopesticides

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Addis Ababa August 9/2022 /ENA/ Ethiopia needs to enhance use of biopesticides, agriculture experts said.

Agricultural researchers at a workshop organized by WorldVeg on the challenges and opportunities of biological pest and disease control in Ethiopia said biopesticides are effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives to synthetic pesticides.

Though synthetic pesticides also improve yield, they might cause adverse effects on environmental and human health, water quality and developed problems like insect pest resistance, toxic residues on food crops and animal feed.

Ethiopia therefore needs to enhance the use of biopesticides, research, and commercialization, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Component Manager at the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) Waktole Sori said.

For wider commercial use of biopesticides, however, there is a supply limitation vis-a-vis key pests on crops in Ethiopia, he added.

Moreover, there are no regulations and directives approved on biopesticides and biofertilizers in Ethiopia, despite high demand for use and commercial purposes.

Since experts are also unfamiliar with biological-based pest management, they are slow to appreciate the need to make the regulatory process appropriate for biopesticides rather than treat them in the same way as synthetic chemical pesticides, the IPM component manager pointed out.

Addis Ababa University Microbial, Cellular, and Molecular Biology researcher, Tesfaye Alemu said the vegetable and fruit industry is important in the agricultural sector.

However, fungal, bacterial, viral, and insect pests of vegetables remain a challenge.

Due to the absence of effective alternative management options, the stated problems destroy the production of vegetables to some degree, he elaborated.

Dependence on synthetic pesticides for the management of crops has negative impacts on animal and human health and the environment, according to the researcher.

Yet, there are neither policies regarding the registration and application of biopesticides nor established guidelines and regulations to guide the registration of biopesticides.

“We need registration of pesticides, evaluation and testing of biopesticides bio efficacy and also research and development,” he stated.

Agriculture and Horticulture State Minister, Melese Mekonnen said policy measures need to be strengthened in order to reduce excessive use of chemical pesticides and to promote the use of biological pest control measures.

According to him, Ministry of Agriculture is working to tackle the legal issue by finalizing the updated policy, regulation and guidelines.

The draft updated biological control and biopesticides regulation and guidelines is prepared and submitted to the Council of Ministers.