National Geographic : 2014 Aug
27.1 26.9 13.2 3.2 29.5 projected 2014 2011 2011 2007 $3 2 1 0 billion 4.1% 1.8 55% spent on biological control For every was returned to cassava farmers $1 $150 2-4 YEARS A B C D 16th century 1973 1980s THE CROP Cassava SOUTH AMERICA AFRICA THE PEST Cassava mealybug THE ANTIDOTE Parasitoid wasp ECONOMIC BENEFIT NATURE IN ACTION A BIT OF HISTORY THE CASSAVA CASE SALES BY TYPE BIOPESTICIDE SALES TOP MARKETS NEXT | FOOD BY THE NUMBERS BIOPESTICIDE SALES ARE GROWING... PERCENTAGE OF BIOPESTICIDE SALES BY REGION, 2011 BUT ARE STILL A SMALL PART OF THE TOTAL PESTICIDE MARKET Cassava’s starchy roots are a staple for millions of Africans, but cassava mealybugs ravaged the continent’s crops in the 1970s and 1980s, decreasing yields by up to 80 percent. Scientists found a solution in natural pest management. Portuguese traders first brought cassava to Africa from South America. The cassava mealybug was accidentally brought to Africa in planting materials from South America. Scientists looked to South America for a natural enemy of the bug and found a parasitoid wasp. Watch the video of Food by the Numbers at nationalgeographic.com/foodbynumbers. A Natural Solution A growing number of farmers are managing agricultural pests with biopesticides and bio logical control agents, including natural materials such as plants, bacteria, and fungi. Predatory and parasitic insects are a form of biological control. All these methods work to keep pest lev els low enough to minimize crop losses without posing a major threat to the environment. Demand for produce free of pesticide residues is driving the increase in biopesticides, says Mark Davis of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Biopesticides are inherently less harmful to humans and break down more quickly than typical agrochemicals. According to Davis, some beneficial fungi even go beyond pest killing by liberating soil nutrients that promote plant growth. — Kelsey Nowakowski Biopesticide statistics include invertebrates.