Activity scheduled for October 8-10, will bring together for the first time on the continent, about 300 researchers and scientists, linked to the growing discipline of biological control of agricultural pests and diseases that promotes the development of cleaner agriculture.

Application of entomopathogenic fungi to control pests in blueberries.

“When Chile joined the OECD (in 2010), it promised that in 2014 we would reduce the use of agrochemicals by 50%. In 2019, not only have we not reduced their use, but we have increased them to become the largest consumers of agrochemicals in OECD countries. Today we consume around 14 kg of agrochemicals per hectare per year, which brings us to the last place in the OECD ranking (made up of 34 countries), while those who lead are around 4 kg ”, said INIA researcher Quilamapu, Lorena Barra, who together with a group of other Chilean scientists make up the Technological Center for Biological Control (CTCB) of INIA in Chillán.

Barra referred in this way, to the worrying uses of agrochemicals that are used in Chilean fields and that directly affect the final products that are marketed.

The whitefly is one of the pests that can be counteracted with biological controllers. entomopathogens.

In fact, he recalled the case of traces of a chemical pesticide (Paratión) that in July last year were found in urine analysis of children from rural localities of the Maule Region “pesticide that should be out of the market because its use is prohibited. commercialization ”, says the researcher. “This means that producers keep products that they know will be finished and that have good results due to high toxicity in pest control, for example, and then continue using them. These are phosphorous products, banned internationally and that we continue to use in Chile ”, he added.

In order to face this health and environmental problem, the INIA professional highlighted the work they carry out in biological control, that is, in the development and use of living organisms (plants, insects, fungi and bacteria) to control agricultural pests and diseases. those that perform functions as insecticides, fungicides and growth promoters, but with zero impact on the environment and human health.

Latin American Symposium on Biological Control

It is the Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA Quilamapu) in Chillán, which leads the country in Biological Control, having more than 20 years of work in this discipline that promotes sustainable agriculture.

Adult specimen of Golden Chicken controlled with entomopathogenic fungi.

Biological control has become a worldwide discipline that grows every year and generates technologies that are being used in different countries. As a way to understand these technologies, INIA has organized the first Latin American Symposium on Biological Control, an event that will bring together the main specialists of the continent between October 8 and 10 at the Termas de Chillán.

Lorena Barra, general coordinator of this activity, stressed that “we seek to disseminate scientific and technological development in this discipline that has more and more specialists around the world. The idea is that the scientific community of the continent knows these advances and that products destined for agriculture can be developed ”.

The INIA Quilamapu researcher added that biological control grows every year in our country, due to the characteristics of the producer and exporter country. “Chile is a country with an important exporting mass, which means that almost all the fruit we produce goes abroad, where there are high quality standards, among which is the amount of chemicals used in the production process. In recent times, access to some markets has been limited due to exceeding the permitted limits, as was the case in China in 2017, which restricted the use of some pesticides to control Botryitis, which meant that both producers and exporters looked for alternatives to the control of this fungus that attacks fruits ”.

World leaders in Chillán

The main scientific exponents of Europe and America in Biological Control will meet in the first Latin American Symposium on Biological Control, between October 8 and 10 in Chillán. "The 70% of the attendees will be researchers and scientists who come to present their work, a 20% will correspond to the general public (consultants, student producers) with the intention of knowing the advances of the biocontroller market, and a 10% will be defined by companies from biological control that come to see the novelties of the bio-inputs increasingly used by producers ”emphasized the INIA professional.

“Chile is in a privileged position because there are a significant number of companies that are developing biocontrollers associated with export agriculture. These products are coming out strong and the numbers back it up. The growth rate of agrochemicals was 14 to 15% per year a few years ago, while that of biological controllers was 4 to 5%. Today the situation is reversed and the agrochemicals grow at rates of 4 to 5% while the biological controllers reach 14 or 15%. That reflects a trend in the market ”he indicated.

Interested in knowing the background of the symposium visit

About INIA

The Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) is the main agricultural research institution in Chile, linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, with a national presence from Arica to Magallanes, through its 10 Regional Centers, as well as technical offices and experimental centers in each one of the regions of the country. Its mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and strategic technologies on a global scale, to produce innovation and improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector.

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