Pest Management in Food Systems: An Economic Perspective
Posted: 20 Oct 2012
Date Written: November 2012
Population and income growth in the coming half century will lead to a tremendous rise in the demand for food. To meet this projected growth without massive extensification of farmland, agricultural yields must increase significantly. Crop yields depend heavily on the pest pressures farmers face and on the pest control treatments available. Pest control, however, inevitably has a multitude of unintended effects on the environment, public and worker health, and the productivity of neighboring farms. The magnitudes of these effects differ widely across pest control technologies and the situations in which they are used. Optimal pest management balances the quantifiable benefits of yield improvement and risk reduction against these external costs, taking into account nonpecuniary characteristics that impact farmers' decisions and welfare. Such analysis should be the basis of government regulation of pest management.
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