Use of Agricultural Pesticides: How We Can Clarify and Move Forward

By José Otávio Menten, Senior Professor at Esalq, President of the Sustainable Agro Scientific Council (CCAS)

27.06.2023 | 08:26 (UTC -3)

I recently participated in SENAGRI 2023 (National Agricultural Inputs Seminar) held in Belo Horizonte - MG, organized by the Brazilian Society for Agricultural Defense (SBDA). Around 500 professionals were present at the event, specialized in agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilizers and seeds), linked to federal, state and municipal government agencies and private companies (input manufacturers, consultants, etc.). In the panel in which I participated, agricultural pesticides or pesticides, phytosanitary products, pesticides or pesticides were discussed. It was clear that Brazil is not the largest consumer, although it is the largest market, when it comes to chemical pesticides. It is important to clarify that, currently, there are also biological pesticides. While the chemical market is expected to increase in the coming years, 2% per year, the biological market is expected to grow 30% per year!

To communicate consumption, it is essential to use appropriate indicators. In the case of chemical pesticides, consumption must be measured by the quantity of pesticides used per unit of cultivated area or by the quantity produced. According to reliable sources, although Brazil is the largest market for chemical pesticides, in the ranking of the largest consumers it is in 44th place when using the quantity per unit of cultivated area and in 58th place when the measurement is made by the quantity of pesticide per unit. ton produced. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada, etc., consume much more agricultural pesticides than Brazil.

It is important to make it clear that the agricultural pesticides used in Brazil are of good quality. To be commercialized, they must be registered. This is a rigorous process, carried out by three entities: MAPA (Ministry of Agriculture), which evaluates agrochemical aspects; ANVISA (Health Surveillance Agency, Ministry of Health), which evaluates toxicological aspects/care for people's exposure; and IBAMA, an agency of the Ministry of the Environment, which evaluates the effect of the pesticide on soil, water and atmosphere and on non-target organisms, aquatic and terrestrial. In this way, the most modern chemical pesticides are increasingly better, more friendly, without causing negative effects on applicators and the environment or leaving dangerous residues in food, when used correctly. So much so that, currently, Brazil, in addition to providing quality food to its entire population, exports to consumers in more than 150 countries. Although chemical pesticides can only be purchased through the Agronomic Recipe, prepared by a qualified professional, it is very important that their use is correct and safe. Proper procedures are essential for transportation, storage, use of PPE (personal protective equipment), preparation of the syrup, application technology and correct disposal of leftovers and empty packaging. The use of the correct dose and the withdrawal period or withdrawal interval stand out.

These precautions are essential so that agricultural pesticides fulfill their function of controlling agricultural pests, responsible for 40% of losses in the production of food, natural fibers and bioenergy, but do not cause undesirable side effects. Thus, harmonious coexistence is possible, for example, between farmers and beekeepers, ensuring adequate pollination and honey production. In addition to delivering waste-free food to consumers.

The agribusiness has continually improved its procedures, aiming for sustainability. In this way, Brazil is consolidating itself as an agricultural and environmental power, contributing to the generation of jobs and income, increasing GDP and exports, improving people's quality of life.

By José Otávio Menten, senior professor at Esalq, President of the Sustainable Agro Scientific Council (CCAS)

Mosaic Biosciences March 2024