The control of pests in agriculture, public health and trade is no longer a question of opinion but has reached a level of international agreements that no country, company or farmer can ignore. We compete with pests, diseases and weeds for survival in Nature in terms of space and food. However, today, we understand that our survival can only be within Nature and that we must therefore not compete but cooperate. That means that while we pursue our own interests we must also protect Nature.
Earth has sufficient resources to feed the current and the future human population. We are innovative enough to constantly come up with new ways to produce food, feed and fiber. But we are not the only ones profiting from our inventions. Insects, animals, microbes and weeds strive in our agricultural systems as well as we do. We must therefore balance the presence of pest organisms in our agricultural systems against our needs. That means that we must not eliminate other organisms but keep them at a level that does not hurt the quantity or quality of our crops.
Our survival as a species depends on the health of Nature. We will never be healthier than the natural environment. One of the key elements of Nature's health is biodiversity. Loss of biodiversity puts our survival at risk. There are two threats to biodiversity: Global Warming and Invasive Alien Species (IAS).
IAS are species that enter a new ecosystem and thrive in this new environment. Without natural enemies they reproduce without limits and eliminate the indigenous species. Worldwide several international treaties have been signed in which countries agree to protect global biodiversity. As we do not seem to make much progress in preventing Global Warming we try to do really well in the prevention of IAS.
The international IAS efforts are 4-step programs:
Steps 1, 3 and 4 make use of pesticides whenever other methods have failed.
Every pesticide use is approved by country, crop, pest and product. Worldwide we grow over 10,000 different plants as crops, each crop is at risk to be damaged by at least 10 pests, for preventing resistance development we need products with at least 3 different modes of action, and we have about 200 regulatory authorities that have to assess and approve each use before it becomes legal for farmers to protect their crop with the specific product. That makes a total of 60,000,000 combinations. As governments do not have the resources to deliver on this enormous task, there are so many differences in the approvals that most people think that it is impossible to remove them.
We don't think so. We think it can be done and encourage all farmers, food processors, crop traders, pesticide companies and governments to engage in Global Harmonization.