Using natural predators to eliminate crop-destroying insects

Crop protection has always been a necessity, but the sustainable aspect is needed. Most of the  crop protection is done by pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals may create some sort of health risk for the consumers and they are also a health hazard to marine life in the neighbouring waterways or they may pollute the soil. Also another way scientist are protecting crops, is by genetic modification. The lather is receiving a lot of skepticism and some scientist believe Genetically Modified (GM) crops are not as nutritious as their organic counterparts. The main threats for crops are insects and weeds.

To get rid of insects is a very tricky game, but as a famous saying goes “you need to fight fire with fire”. With that in mind my idea for sustainable crop protection is by using “biological pests”. With this method natural predators are used to eliminate the insects who are destroying the crops⁽¹⁾.  Some of the natural predators can be bees or birds. This method is already been used by some countries. To keep the bees or other birds controlled, they will be kept in controlled stations or buildings. The birds for example will have a tracker on them, so that the farmer can know where every bird is. For the bees, the beekeeper needs to take care of releasing and capturing the bees.

The major stakeholders in this are: beekeepers to keep the bee population controlled and whenever there is an outbreak of the bees, they can capture them  , biologist or other researchers to do the research on what bee species can be used and which birds are more suitable for controlling pests, IT-companies to develop the software system that will be used to track the birds, the farmers themselves, because they need to embrace this relatively new method. Other minor stakeholders in this are companies or individuals who will provide this project with for example material to build the stations for the birds and bees

To see if this project  has succeeded, there will be an evaluation phase. After a year orso when the data is collected,  the input and responses of the different stakeholders are collected, there will be a thoroughly evaluation. Everyone that has been part of this project will give their input in the evaluation phase. There will be a certain result that will be sought to achieve. If that is not achieved there will be a troubleshooting on where it went wrong.

The positive impacts of this  project are numerous. Firstly it will minimize the use of toxic and dangerous chemicals. Secondly it will employ researchers and other scientist, also it will help employ people from almost all sectors, from an IT-guy to a beekeeper or a maintenance guy for the birdhouses. The positive impacts on the environment will also be noticeable, the bees can be used for pollination and pest control instead of dangerous chemicals. This method will bring a new “horizon” in crop protection, especially in Suriname, it will also bring a new wave of young farmers who will look into more biological and sustainable farming methods.

Many new  pesticides and herbicides are flushing the markets of developing country, these chemicals are all bad for the soil, marine life and human health in their own ways. To look into biological pest control, we may eliminate all these dangerous chemicals and ensure that the consumers are getting healthy fruits and vegetables. This matter concerns me as an Agriculture Science student, because it is my duty to ensure healthy and nutritious food for everyone. The Surinamese farmers may use these methods where they are applicable, this will shift farmers to a more biological way of farming.

Bernhard Doekoe, Suriname

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