A leading agricultural commentator has spoken out on the importance of pesticides to the future of export crops, noting that without them, products including bananas and mangoes would not be able to survive in tropical climates.
Former CropLife Foundation Crop Protection Research Institute director Leonard Gianessi told delegates at the recent MRL Roundtable that without pesticides, the production of many crops would decrease significantly.
He used bananas as an example, highlighting how growers relied on pesticides to prevent the Sigatoka fungal germ from penetrating the banana leaf and causing disease in the plant.
"The real driver of pesticide use around the world, particularly on fruit and vegetable crops, are consumers," he said. "it's consumers that demand picture-perfect produce. THey don't want to have insect damage, any insects present or any scab organisms, anything like that.
"Basically, you can't have it both ways," he added. "If you're going to have picture-perfect produce, you've got to accept the idea and reality of pesticide use, whether it's domestic markets or export markets."