Agriculture, pesticides, food security and food safety

Author: Carvalho, F.P.

Description: Decades ago, agrochemicals were introduced aiming at enhancing crop yields and at protecting crops from pests. Due to adaptation and resistance developed by pests to chemicals, every year higher amounts and new chemical compounds are used to protect crops, causing undesired side effects and raising the costs of food production. Eventually, new techniques, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs) resistant to pests, could halt the massive spread of agrochemicals in agriculture fields. Biological chemical-free agriculture is gaining also more and more support but it is still not able to respond to the need for producing massive amounts of food. The use of agrochemicals, including pesticides, remains a common practice especially in tropical regions and South countries. Cheap compounds, such as DDT, HCH and lindane, that are environmentally persistent, are today banned from agriculture use in developed countries, but remain popular in developing countries. As a consequence, persistent residues of these chemicals contaminate food and disperse in the environment. Coordinated efforts are needed to increase the production of food but with a view to enhanced food quality and safety as well as to controlling residues of persistent pesticides in the environment.

Subject headings: Agrochemicals; Crop yields; Agriculture; Pesticides; Food safety; Food contamination

Publication year: 2006

Journal or book title: Environmental Science & Policy

Volume: 9

Issue: 7-8

Pages: 685-692

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 767