The Economics of Biological Control in Peruvian Potato Production
Posted: 9 Jan 2019
Date Written: 1997
Biological control is being advocated in Peru as an alternative to chemical control of potato pests. Research on biological alternatives to chemical pesticides has led to the promotion of two biological control products (BCPs): 1) Baculovirus phthorimaea, used to control the Andean potato weevil. To assess the market potential for BCPs, we interviewed scientists and technicians working at BCP pruduction facilities, staff of NGOs promoting the use of BCPs, and farmers using BCPs in potato production. Our results indicate that B. phthorimaea is cost-effective, that farmers are willing to pay for the product, and that market potential does exist. The next stage of research into B. phthorimaea should focus on product diffusion and market development. The results for B. brongniartii were less promising. Under some conditions the fungus was unable to thrive and, even when it functioned as intended, the benefits of using the product as currently recommended were low. Farmers are not expected to purchase the product in sufficient quantities to allow a market to develop. We therefore recommend divestment from large-scale production of B. brongniartii.
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