Integrated Pest Management & the sustainable intensification of agriculture
Careful consideration of all available pest control techniques
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations defines Integrated Pest Management as follows:
"Integrated Pest Management (IPM) means the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms".
The FAO promotes IPM as the preferred approach to crop protection, considering it as a "pillar of both sustainable intensification of crop production and pesticide risk reduction".
IPM is a system of farming designed to be sustainable, it involves using a combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures, including plant biotechnology. IPM should provide a cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of managing diseases, insects, weeds and other pest in agriculture.
A technological approach - science guides sustainability
IPM can be considered a flexible approach to crop protection; an approach that makes best use of all available technologies to manage pest problems effectively, safely and sustainably.
In this CropLife International video, Professor Sir Gordon Conway gives an explanation of IPM, and how pesticides can be used in conjunction with natural enemy controls, such as parasites and other predators, to help protect our food.
The 'ladybird' (AKA ladybug) of the beetle family Coccinellidae is considered a useful insect for IPM in agriculture and gardening as it preys on sap-feeding plant pests including aphids (of the superfamily Aphidoidea) and scale insects (of the superfamily Coccoidea). This short clip shows a ladybird feeding on an aphid.