an ecologically-friendly method to increase crop production and lower the damages sustained by pests. This is achieved by means of various management methods which reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) emphasizes the healthy growth of crops with the minimal usage of pesticides and encourages the use of biological pest control methods¹. IPM focuses on the long term application of ecologically-friendly biological methods such as natural predators, resistant plant strains, sterile male technique, and so on. The main reason that the FAO has started implementing the IPM in several regions was largely due to the hazardous impact of the certain chemicals contained in commercial pesticides. Some studies show that the use of DDT in Africa to control malaria has given some adverse side effects such as breast cancer, diabetes, spontaneous abortions, decreased semen quality, and impaired child neurodevelopment². Thus, IPM aims to slowly reduce the use of pesticides via biological control methods.
Besides lowering the impact of chemical substances on the biota in the ecosystem, there are several other benefits of IPM, such as:
- Slower development of resistance to pesticides
- Maintaining a balanced ecosystem
- Better cost vs. value margin
There are also some disadvantages of IPM, such as:
- More involvement in the technicalities of the method
- Time and energy consuming
However, the disadvantages are easily offset with the establishment of organizations that actually provide training and education to IPM practitioners. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Agriculture actually provides support and training to farmers who apply IPM to control the pests in their farms. As the practice grows, the application of the IPM process can become easier over time.