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Biological diversity is currently the greatest potential wealth of third world countries. The perspectives of its adequate and rational exploitation are related to the knowledge about its use, which is in turn another potential wealth conserved by local cultures.
However, all this wealth of resources (food, medicines, pigments, fibers, ornaments, aromas, insecticides, additives, resins, biopolymers, etc.), are not subject to local exploitation, because the dominant perspectives of wealth generation revolve around extensive and intensive monoculture, according to market trends.
In this sense, the relationship between agricultural activity and the conservation / exploitation of biodiversity, not only has an exclusive character, but there is also a component of negative impact on biodiversity, with the use of external inputs, as is the case of agrochemicals. These toxic agents are capable of damaging the biodiversity adjacent to the cultivation areas, in high-risk proportions, which are expressed in the elimination of specimens of fauna, flora or microbiota, affecting the trophic chains at their various levels, with sufficient efficiency. as to induce drastic imbalances in forests, rivers, etc. Likewise, by eliminating beneficial species, these external and artificial products affect agricultural production itself, as is the case with the increase in pests, generating a vicious cycle of which the great beneficiary is the company that generates the chemical inputs.
Based on the above, the contradiction between chemical control and the conservation of biodiversity is clear, which includes the reduction of the possibilities of biological control for two reasons:
to) The use of agro-toxic agents determines the disappearance of local natural enemies or predators of pests and also affects the existence of adequate niches for the reproduction of said biocontrollers.
b) By decreasing biodiversity, the possibility of eliminating wild relatives of the species in cultivation increases, thus extinguishing the prospects for genetic improvement associated with the same resistance to pests or climatic factors.
It is easy to see that the conservation of biodiversity greatly favors biological control processes. To highlight this fact, it is necessary to emphasize the best possibility of finding local predators, as long as ecological niches exist.
The natural relationship between host and parasite, allows to establish the fundamental bases of Biological Control and, therefore, the conservation of Biodiversity. It also raises as an accepted fact that, the greater the diversity, the greater the possibility of entering into equilibrium in a shorter period of time. In this framework, there is a harmonious relationship between Biological Control, as a fundamental element in the conservation of biodiversity.
The above statement raises the path that nature itself has always pointed out to us. However, and despite the fact that starting in the eighties, while in many developed countries biological control was accepted as an effective method and without risks to human health, the agrochemical industry made significant investments in the field of biotechnology.
Bolivia's genetic resources are currently used as raw material in the biotechnology industry. Said genetic resources are illegally exported from the country and / or with the permission of private Research Centers, conservation NGOs, etc., as is the case of the wild peanut collection that the US Department of Agriculture intends to carry out in several areas of Bolivia, counting on the authorization of the Bolivian government and the restrained help of a “conservationist” NGO, FAN. This will cause genetically manipulated organisms to be sold to our farmers in the future; potentially dangerous for the environment, human health and the Bolivian economy.
An alternative to disaster
Biological Control represents a concrete alternative to the use of genetically manipulated organisms, because it rescues and strengthens the ecological balance that existed before the use of agrochemicals. Fortunately, this alternative exists in Bolivia and is being used with great success by more than 1,400 small and medium farmers, and by medium-sized companies that export organic products.
It is the presentation of a biopreparation of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, which is a natural enemy of many pests, including those belonging to the orders coleoptera and lepidoptera.
The conidia of the fungus in contact with the insect enter into competition with the cuticular microflora, producing a germ tube that has the ability to cross the integument of the insect, branches out within its body and causes the host to die, mummifying it and later sporulation appears. whitish of the fungus on the body of the same in humid conditions.
& # 8226; It is not toxic to humans, animals, or plants. & # 8226; Does not pollute the environment
& # 8226; When established in the field, it constitutes a beneficial inoculum reservoir.
& # 8226; It can be used in organic agriculture.
CROPS WHERE USED
Sugar cane - Citrus - Sweet potato - Corn - Bean - Rice - Chili pepper - Banana - Cotton - Coffee tree - Forest - Ornamental - Soy - Tomato - Potato - Fruit trees - Others
PESTS IT CONTROLS
PestsCommon namesMetamazius sp.Cane weevilEuscepes sp.PicudoEpitrix spPiqui piquiPiquiEpicauta sp.Challu or oldHypothenemus sp.
This undertaking is carried out by PROBIOMA, a Private Institution for Social Development that has a Center for Research, Diagnosis and Production of Bioregulators. These products, in a number of more than 60 lines, are biocontrollers of more than 40 pests and 8 diseases, in more than 45 agricultural crops. These bioregulators have not been genetically manipulated, they come from nature, and have undergone a process of reproduction and organic formulation that allows their reinsertion, in order to reestablish the ecological balance. In the case of potatoes, soybeans and cotton, PROBIOMA already has proven native Bioregulators (Entomopathogenic, Mycoparasitic and Entomopathogenic Nematodes Fungi), which are capable of biologically controlling the pests that are a reason for the introduction of transgenic crops. These bioregulators, which are harmless to human and animal health, are being applied en masse by farmers in various areas of Bolivia.
Despite the fact that with this initiative, Bolivia has taken a very important step in this technology, this initiative has received little diffusion, comparing the great importance it has, as it represents a real alternative to the high degree of dependence on external inputs that, as is the case of transgenic crops, will have serious consequences for the valuable genetic resources of our country.
* This is a synthesis published by Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN) of a work done by PROBIOMA
For the full article and more information:
Director - Miguel Angel Crespo
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
C.e .: [email protected]
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Reproduction authorized only mentioning as source and with link in case of being published on the Internet
Biological control vs. transgenic
By PROBIOMA *