Compulsory in the EU since 2014, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is considered central to the sustainable intensification of crop production and pesticide risk reduction. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations defines IPM as '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 minimise risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms'.
IPM is a system of farming that involves a combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures that aims to provide a cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of managing diseases, insects, weeds and other pests in agriculture. IPM is a relatively flexible approach to crop protection that enables the use of approved technologies to manage pest problems effectively, safely and sustainably.
IPM strategy comprises three main activities:
- Prevention of pest build-up through use of appropriate crop cultivation methods.
- Monitoring of crops to observe pest levels, as well as the levels of beneficial species that can provide natural control mechanisms.
- Intervention where control measures are deemed necessary.