SUSTAINABLE PLANT PEST MANAGEMENT THROUGH OPTIMIZATION AND MINIMIZATION
Plant pests and diseases have significant negative impacts on global food security, world trade and rural livelihoods. Climate change exacerbates these impacts in certain parts of the world. Overreliance on pesticides as the primary tool for plant pest management leads to problems such as pesticide resistance and pest resurgence. Environmental and food safety concerns are also associated with overuse of pesticides in crop production. There is clearly a need for a shift in pest management strategies and practices globally. Optimization of structures and functions in crop production agroecosystems through soil conservation practices and cropping diversification can improve pest regulation services provided in the systems. Prioritization of safer alternatives and practices in the IPM pyramid, such as resistant varieties and biopesticides, helps minimize the use of potentially risky agricultural inputs such as synthetic pesticides. Investment is needed to boost the development of innovative green technologies and practices. Production, distribution, use and regulatory capacities need to be strengthened to facilitate large-scale adoption of green technologies and practices. Finally, policy, financial and market instruments should be wielded to provide an enabling environment for the transformation to sustainable plant pest and disease management strategies and practices worldwide.