Mexico Supports Agroecological Techniques to Combat Corn PestsBy María Fernanda Barría | Mon, 05/17/2021 - 16:16
The Ministry of Agriculture and Provivi, a pest control company, strive to promote an agroecological technology technique that aims to eradicate the presence of the fall armyworm in corn.
Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, joined experts and representatives from Provivi in a video conference call to evaluate the progress of applying agroecological technology for the biological control of the fall armyworm in experimental plots in Chiapas. Provivi's Director of Institutional Relations, Gloria Meléndez, emphasized that their service is a valuable tool for agricultural pest control, mainly because it is an environmentally friendly technique.
The Ministry of Agriculture indicates that this agroecological technology allows the eradication of the fall armyworm by dispersing doses of pheromones to generate sexual confusion in the insect. Unlike traditional insecticides, it does not eliminate insect larvae and does not kill insects. According to Provivi's website, it is "a species-specific preventative method that hinders the next generation of grubs and reduces the insect population during each season of use." In addition, the technique reduces the possibility of the pest gaining resistance against insecticides. The correct implementation of technology reduces insecticides and agrochemicals by up to 40 percent and generates savings in production costs.
In 2020, Secretary of Agriculture Víctor Villalobos Arámbula met with Frances Arnold, founder of Provivi and 2018 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, to discuss the benefits of the technology she developed to control the pest through pheromones.
Provivi's Director of Institutional Relations, Gloria Meléndez, declared that in three years of work in Mexico, the company has trained nine Plant Health Committees and worked on 4,448 ha. with technical assistance to small-scale producers.
Mexico is considered an international reference for applying biological controls as a sustainable and effective technique for combating agricultural pests. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are currently approximately 70 biological control laboratories operating in the country under the National Reference Center for Biological Control (CNRCB) management.
The policies implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture align with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's ideals as he has previously stated that such guidelines aim to help the country achieve self-sufficiency by establishing sustainable and culturally adequate agricultural production. As previously reported by MBN, the Mexican president suggests that herbicides should be substituted "by sustainable and culturally appropriate alternatives that allow production and are safe for human health and the country's biocultural diversity."
Losses in agriculture due to pests and diseases amount to more than US$220 billion annually worldwide.