Aphids are notorious plant/leaf-eating pest. I recall during my undergraduate studies hoping onto a bicycle and heading to the campus farm fields to secure an assortment of substances-neem, sugar solution, etc-up citrus plants of what constituted one of my professor’s project.The aim was to get a substance that would constructively distract a biological set up in favor of citrus fruit production. The microecosytem of a citrus plant constitutes aphids feeding on the plant, attendant ants feeding on the aphids’ sugary secretions and the carnivorous ladybirds creeping in to snatch away and eat the aphids but heavily guarded by the attendant ants. The attractant would therefore get the attention of the attendant ants which would otherwise fight off the ladybirds. In the process, the aphids would be eaten by the voracious ladybirds to the benefit of the citrus plants promoting high yield.
In our last meeting with FMC, they noted that Furadan’s withdrawal would penalize Kenyan farmers that had been using it properly as a pesticide.The chemical product was (is?) a heavily depended on broad spectrum pesticide (deadly poison?) and had served a major role in feeding the world .
The insect pests (some disease vectors others voracious phytophagous-plant feeders ) onslaught seems to be the major threat in the way of desired agricultural productivity to ensure food security. The ideal trend in agriculture has therefore been to employ the strongest pesticide to wipe out the pests. But this just never really amounts to eliminating the current problem pest per se. The ideal pesticide kills virtually all organisms at least according to Kenya Pesticide Control Products Board boss recently defending the worldwide banned Methyl Bromide because ” it kills all living things in the soil. So it eliminates pests completely,”. But Methyl Bromide due to be phased out completely worldwide by 2015 is said to contribute to global warming, one of major threats to all biodiversity at present.
On the long road to ban DDT in the US during the early 1970s, initial review of the chemical by the mostly economic entomologists team (inherited from the United States Department of Agriculture) furnished the then EPA’s administrator with seemingly biased findings: that DDT was not an imminent danger to human health and wildlife. Many environmentalists felt the ruling was biased in favor of agribusiness and tended to minimize concerns about human health and wildlife. The decision not to ban thus created public controversy leading to scientific reviews in court hearings, the cancellation of DDTs uses and its eventual ban.
its all about….
Nature is fashioned in food pyramids and chains with higher predators consuming lower predators and producers. While this would constitute biological control in agricultural pest control argued arbitrarily to also have its pros and cons, chemical pesticide control threatens the very existence of the natural control of pests employing natural predators. The increase in crop pests due to the loss of their predators to the very pest control chemicals cannot be ruled out. We are developing an irreversible dependance on monster chemicals which turn around and bite us right in our backs with the ultimate expensive outcome of speeded up species extinctions of which man is not exempted.
It may be ill fated that the issue of Furadan in Kenya has to creep through a slow winding path before anything is done. However, with each passing day there is an intoxicated dying organism, certainly a dying bird and most probably a suffering may be dying human being from exposure to carbofuran or any other deadly pesticide when there are better options.