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One of the foremost concerns of farmers is to protect their crops against pests and insects invasion, and, pesticides and insecticides serve the purpose. They can be made out of chemicals and also, using natural elements. Horror stories about birds falling dead from the sky after eating sprayed insects, is now making the farmers re-think about their savior weapon. Also, with growing concerns for environmental safety, the use of bio-pesticides is even more stressed than before.

Bio-pesticides are easily executable, highly useful, along with being eco-friendly, for microbes and insect management. Bio-pesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects and mammals. With agriculture being greatly affected by bacteria, fungi, weeds and insects, whose after-effects include reduced yield and poor quality of the produce, the need for the use of bio-pesticides is rapidly increasing. Increasing realization about the ill effects of the agrochemicals such as pest resurgence, pesticide resistance, pesticide residues, and outbreak of secondary pests in the produce, soil, air and water, is urging to shift to a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Use of bio-pesticides can play major role in dealing with challenges like diminishing natural resources and post-harvest losses, while simultaneously playing safe with the environment.

More than 225 microbial bio-pesticides are manufactured in 30 OECD countries. The NAFTA countries which include USA, Canada, and Mexico, tops with about 45% usage of the bio-pesticides, while Asia lacks behind with only 5% of bio-pesticides usage. Most of the countries are striving to minimize the use of chemical pesticides and promote the use of bio-pesticides through various amendments and policies. However, bio-pesticides are still largely regulated by the originally designed system for chemical pesticides. Though potential application of bio-pesticides is well known for environmental safety, it has gained interest in with growing demands for organic food. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is a systems approach that combines different crop protection practices with careful monitoring of pests and their natural enemies. It is creating opportunities in suing bio-pesticides in the selected and niched areas, to meet the ever growing demands of food, feed and fodder.

One of the most amazing natural pesticides is Neem oil, which most commonly used as bio-pesticide by most of the villagers in India.  According to the report of Export Import Bank of India, the estimated Rs 100 crore neem-based pesticide markets in the country is growing by 7-9% annually, with growing awareness about benefits of neem as a natural pesticide. The report also tells that U.S. was the largest importer of neem extracts from India with $2.62 million imports in FY2011-12.


Though most of the countries are amending their policies to minimize the use of chemical pesticides and promote the use of bio-pesticides, they are still largely regulated by the system originally designed for chemical pesticides. Primary producers are under increasing pressure from consumers and governments to sustainably and ethically produce safe foods and food ingredients. Gradually, withdrawal of chemical pesticides will leave growers with few or no alternatives to control pests and diseases that can cause major production losses. Companies will only develop bio-pesticides only if they can profit from that. Similarly, the decision for a farmer whether or not to adopt a particular novel technology is more centered towards cost-benefit comparison of the profits to be made from using the novel versus the incumbent technology. A number of features of the agricultural economy like lack of profit from niche market products, fixed costs and farmers’ risk aversion, make it difficult for companies to invest in developing new bio-pesticide products while also making it hard for farmers to decide about adopting the new technology. There are regulations not only about which products are allowed, but also at what dosage, and about how and when to use them, coupled with strict checks.

Finally, the need of the day is to make efficient production without any external losses, along with environmental safety on mind. Use of bio-pesticides can deal with these challenges in a sustainable manner. It depends on the situation, the crop, the knowledge of the growers, even the weather conditions and the stage of development of the crop. There is no perfect solution to the choice to be made, except for varied comparative advantages and disadvantages. In all cases controlling the method in the correct way should be the utmost priority and importance.

Market Research analysts at Market Data Forecast are currently working on Bio-pesticides market. For in-depth analysis about the market, visit Market Data Forecast’s website for comprehensive report. Also, a free report sample can be availed. Do not forget to subscribe to our newsletters for more interesting news on trending topics in Agriculture sector.

Preethi Ramesh Narayan

A BITS-Pilani graduate, currently working as a Market Research Analyst at Market Data Forecast

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