Evaluating the Use of Bio-Pesticides for Crop Protection in Afghanistan

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Mohammad Zarif Sharifi, Kabul University Faculty of Agriculture, Kabul, Afghanistan
Objectives: Historically, crop protection in Afghanistan has relied heavily on synthetic chemical pesticides. Due to the evolution of resistance in pest populations and growing awareness of environmental protection, alternative pest management tactics are needed. However, alternative bio-pesticides are regulated by systems designed originally for chemical pesticides that have created market entry barriers by imposing burdensome costs on the bio-pesticide industry. In Afghanistan, a greater emphasis on bio-pesticides as part of agricultural policy could lead to innovations in the way that bio-pesticides are regulated. The objective of this study is to inventory the current state of bio-pesticide usage in Afghanistan to better understand how, where and to what effect these products are being used in order to inform necessary policy innovations. Method: Data from publications of the Department of Plant Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock was analyzed in order to assess the extent of bio-pesticide use by Afghan farmers. Three types of data were collected by region: types of bio-pesticides used, techniques for dispersion of pesticides, and amount of agricultural land effected by bio-pesticide use. Results: Just three types of bio-pesticides were identified: 1. The bio-fungicide, Trichoderma, is used in two provinces to fight fungal diseases in vegetables. Ground application equipment is used to disperse this pesticide utilized in a total of 20 hectares of farmland. 2. Madex plus is used in 15 northern provinces to control codling moth in apple production. Ground application equipment is used to disperse this pesticide utilized in a total of 200 hectares of farmland. 3. Dipel 150 dust is used by Kabul University’s Faculty of Agriculture to prevent cabbage worms and grape leaf folder in leafy vegetable production. Powdering by hand techniques are used to disperse this pesticide utilized in a total of 2 hectares of farmland. Conclusion: The results show that bio-pesticide use in Afghanistan is still limited. Bio-pesticides are not being widely used in Afghanistan currently due to existing industry regulations and due to lack of awareness and knowledge of these products by farmers.  Outcomes: In Afghanistan more than 80% of the population relies on agriculture for its livelihood. Approximately one-third of the population is food insecure and will require agricultural assistance. The total annual cereal requirement for Afghanistan is estimated at 6.5 million tons, however there is a cereal deficit of 753,000 tons—better, more widely affordable and effective tools for crop pest management are necessary in order to address the issue of food security in Afghanistan. Greater emphasis on bio-pesticide usage as part of agricultural policy will lead to innovations in the way that bio-pesticides are regulated, allowing for a wider availability that will make the technology more accessible to farmers.