By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) announced a record number of registrations of low toxicity agricultural pesticides, which are less damaging to human health. Not less than 52 new biopesticide products were released, out of a total of 450 registered last year. Compared with 2017, there was a 30% increase over the 40 products registered that year.
According to the Ministry, low toxicity pesticides are those that contain "biological, microbiological, biochemical, semiochemical or plant extracts, and may even be used in organic agriculture". Compared to the year 2016, the increase was even greater, since during that year, only 39 biological products were approved.
"The variety of products benefits many crops because most of them are registered for one or more biological targets, regardless of the cultivar where these pests are found," explained the head of the Registration Division of Formulated Products of the Secretariat of Agricultural Defense, Bruno Gentleman Breitenbach.
According to Breitenbach, "The record of less toxic products is a result of the federal government's policy of prioritizing the analysis of registration processes for these products." He also said that there is a greater demand from Brazilian farmers for alternatives less aggressive to the environment and the consumer.
With the new policy of prioritizing organic products, the delay in registering these products has been drastically reduced. Currently, the average time between the application for registration by the interested party and the completion of the process varies from three to six months. There are currently 1,345 applications for the registration of pesticides under analysis on the map. In addition to MAPA, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) also analyze the requests.
Examples of biological defenses highlighted by Breitenbach are wasps and fungi that are extremely selective, attacking only the caterpillars that cause damage to crops. In its assessment, the market for organic products tends to increase, as there have been increasing volumes of investments in research and development, as well as an increase in the number of companies operating in this segment.