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Pests and poverty: the continuing need for crop protection research

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Articles & Journals
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Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Jill Lenne

The UK Department for International Development’s White Paper and Strategies for Achieving the International Development Targets1 recognize that knowledge and technology underpin development and that the elimination of poverty, improved economic growth and protection of the environment can be achieved through support for research and development that enhances the sustainable livelihoods of poor people. This philosophy is also the foundation of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) future strategy, A New Vision for 2010.2 The DFID Crop Protection Programme (CPP) is committed to the development and promotion of socially and environmentally acceptable management technologies to reduce crop losses from pests3 in developing countries. Improved pest management is an essential part of a holistic approach to crop improvement, substantially contributing to poverty elimination, enhanced livelihood security and reduced environmental degradation. This article reports the progress being made in the development, application and promotion of a broad range of pest management technologies that farmers are adopting, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, home to most of the world’s poorest people. Without the advances made by agricultural research, including crop protection technologies, during the past 30–40 years, the effects of poverty would have been far worse. Further support is essential to meet the challenges of producing even more food from even less land using technologies that have minimal adverse environmental impacts and that contribute to poverty elimination. Technologies such as host plant resistance, judicious use of pesticides, biological control and integrated pest management will have an increasingly important role to play in the future.