The European Parliament unanimously accepted a proposal to speed up market registration of products for biological control of pests, that have a low environmental impact. Almost at the same time, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations issued a statement, saying that it is very well possible to feed a world population of nine billion people without the use of harmful chemical crop protection agents. ‘This clearly shows the tides are turning in favor of biological control, professor Joop van Lenteren says. Together with colleagues of Wageningen Plant Research and of companies in the field of biological control, Van Lenteren published a thorough overview of the products that are available in biological control already.
Augmentative biological control
In their article, Van Lenteren and co-authors distinguish four types of biological control. ‘Natural biological control is an ecosystem service whereby pest organisms are reduced by naturally occurring beneficial organisms. In economic terms this is the greatest contribution of biological control to agriculture’, Van Lenteren explains. The second type, conservation biological control, consists of human actions that protect and stimulate the performance of naturally occurring natural enemies. In the third type, classical biological control, natural enemies are collected, mostly in the area of origin of a pest, and then released in areas where the pest is invasive. As this was the first type of widely practiced biological control, it is called classical’, he adds.
The article of Van Lenteren and co-authors focuses on the forth type: Augmentative Biological Control. Natural enemies are mass-reared for release in large numbers, either to obtain immediate control of pests in crops with a short production cycle or for control of pests during several generations in crops with a long production cycle.

Protecting biodiversity
The article lists several hundreds of organisms such as parasitoids, predators or micro-organisms, plus the pests and diseases that they are able to control. ‘We want to convey a clear and positive message’, Van Lenteren says: ‘A lot is possible in biological control already! The market for biological products is only 2% compared to chemical products. However, the European Union is about to ban more than half of the approximately thousand chemical pesticides that are on the market today. In the meantime, the market for biological control is growing with more than 15% per year.’
In promoting biological control, the health issue of consumers is of course of key importance. ‘But to me, the protection of biodiversity is almost of greater importance’, Van Lenteren states. ‘Decreasing the use of harmful chemical products significantly protects biodiversity. And biodiversity is directly and positively linked to the ecosystem services that protect the majority of our crops.’
Conscious agriculture
To further increase the growth of biological control, Van Lenteren and co-authors propose a system they call ‘Conscious Agriculture.’ Conscious agriculture operates somewhere between conventional and organic and is flexible and non-dogmatic, the article states. It involves participation of all stakeholders in the production and consumption chain, and respects the environment and resource availability for future generations. This is in contrast with conventional agriculture, which concentrates on profit maximization and externalizing the cost of the harmful effects on human health, society and the environment. Van Lenteren adds: ‘Were all stakeholders to adopt this conscious agriculture, it would be no problem at all to feed a world population of nine billion, without harming our biosphere. It was of great importance that the UN and the EU stressed that as well.’

[ Survey ]

Have a China Field Visit, to Explore the Opportunity of Chinese Agchem Market !

In 2015, the Chinese government put forward the Pesticide & Fertilizer-use Zero Growth program, for which a series of supportive policies were released. The program set a new requirement for the supply of environment-friendly products and the provision of advanced agricultural technology for application towards crop protection and crop nutrition services. It will also have a profound effect on the Chinese agrochemical market structure in the future.

At the request of some of our readers, AgroPages is planning to organize a China field visit for enterprises interested in the Chinese agrochemical market. Enterprises, including but not limited to green crop protection product vendors, agrotechnical service providers and precision agriculture-oriented enterprises can participate in the field visit. 
We will arrange meetings with Chinese agrotechnical promotion agencies and prime distributors, as well as organize interviews with farmers and major growers, so that enterprises can understand the needs of the market and explore the available business opportunities. China is vast, with diversified structure of cultivation. To better fulfill your expectations from the Chinese market, you are kindly requested to take part in the following survey to enable us to schedule this business trip to your satisfaction.
  1. 1. Would you consider attending such an investigation group?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Won't attend now, but will attend next year
  2. 2. What would you like to know about the Chinese agrichemical industry during this visit?
    • Agri-inputs Supply Position
    • Crop Plantation
    • Pesticides and Fertilizers Registration
    • Distribution
    • Partner Selection
    • Policy and Regulation
    • Other(Please specify)
  3. 3. Which company/organization would you like to visit or hold a meeting with during this visit?
    • Agriculture Technology and Popularization Center
    • Agri-inputs manufacturer
    • Agri-inputs distributor
    • Large-scale grower
    • Pesticide and Fertilizer Registration Department/Agent
    • Other(Please specify)
  4. 4. When would be the most convenient time for you to attend the investigation group?
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • November
    • Other(Please specify)
  5. 5. Briefly introduce your company and business?
  6. 6. Please leave your contact information, if you are interested in more details about the visit.
    Your Name: