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Rational Pesticide Use (RPU)

Funding Opportunities

Commercial (either sprayer or pesticide manufacturers) and agencies interested in funding IPM implementation projects.

Prospective Partner/s

Companies involved in sprayer and pesticide development.

Project Description

Problem/Issue. Despite all the public concern against pesticide use, the total value of sales increased some 2.5 times to US$30 billion during the final two decades of the 20th century. Attempts to totally exclude pesticide use are often impractical and have clearly been rejected by “the market”. Scientists, practitioners and policy makers involved in IPM have tended to view any activity associated with pesticides as belonging to the pesticide companies (and preferably to be avoided). In turn the chemical companies (which often provide farmers with most of their information on products) are unlikely to develop or promote techniques that reduce pesticide use (and hence sales). Truly rational pesticide use (RPU) techniques have therefore become neglected, in the “no mans land” between the environmental and agrochemical industry camps. The RPU Unit therefore aims to bridge this gap, developing techniques that reduce harm to human health and the environment, together with the expense of pesticide use.

RPU is specifically a combination of measures that:

  1. Improve dose transfer of pesticides to the biological target (e.g. by precise spray application)
  2. Enable better timing of application
  3. Develop and promote biologically specific and safe products
Enhancement of effective biopesticide delivery systems is an excellent example of the RPU concept and the RPU Unit works in close collaboration with the Biopesticides team. However there are opportunities for developing other latent RPU technologies including controlled droplet application and other precision spraying techniques. When it is accepted that pesticidal intervention is indeed occasionally necessary, then RPU could provide a framework for interaction between IPM practitioners and providers of technical solutions (which are often small-medium sized commercial concerns).

Measures To Date. A number of consultancies on RPU for crops such as fruit trees, coffee, tea, sugar cane and rice. Preparation of various biopesticide formulations for commercial companies and CABI research groups. Assessment of sprayer performance (especially droplet sizing) for commercial product development and registration.

Potential CABI Project Input. RPU scientists Roy Bateman and Belinda Luke have participated in the LUBILOSA / ESLOCO, IMPECCA and other RPU projects. In 2000 a decision was taken to address the lack of unbiased information and technological development on the selection and use of pesticides. Consultancies are being carried out and further projects are being sought that focus on techniques that may lead to real reductions in pesticide use.

Achievements So Far

A large database on the performance of a wide range of atomisers that are currently in use has been created and this will assist in the development of improved recommendations for the dose transfer of both chemical and biological pesticides. This can be especially useful for research into biopesticide delivery systems, because unlike chemical formulations, the products are suspensions of living micro-organisms; since these are necessarily particulate suspensions, there are special consequences in the dose transfer from the spray tank to the target pests.

What Next

Continued support to the Biopesticides team for the development of appropriate biopesticide formulations. Greater emphasis will be placed on: assessment of field performance of pesticide delivery systems, and preparation of training resources.

Start date: TBC

End date: TBC

 
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Contact CABI Commodities:
CABI Commodities Coffee Co-ordinator - Dr. Peter Baker - p.baker@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Cocoa Co-ordinator - Dr. Keith Holmes - k.holmes@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Project Administrator - cabi-commodities@cabi.org