Biopesticides 'held back by sceptics'

Sceptics and a lack of understanding of technology are holding back the emergence of a biopesticdes market that is nevertheless slowly gaining a foothold with growers.

Biopesticide consultant Roma Gwynn (pictured) said the sector was heavily industrialised and complicated, resulting in good products with efficacy levels of 80 per cent. "But I'm often told they don't really work and are not very good," she told the Association of Applied Biologists conference last month.

The global market totalled 1,400 biopesticide products - 280 in the USA and 15 in the UK. It was worth $0.5bn in 2007, $1.6bn last year and this year's forecast was $3.3bn.

Gwynn, who runs Rationale Biopesticide Consultants, recently undertook an Horticultural Developement Company-funded project with UK growers on what drove uptake.

Reasons included the desire to reduce residues, improve pest-resistance management, find alternatives following the loss of active ingredients, use biopesticides in integrated pest management regimes and the need to respond to EU directives.

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