Crop protection is the practice of removing weeds, adjusting weather and eliminating pests. It may include managing everything that inhibit the growth of fruit, vegetables and all farm produce.
It is highly important because through this, higher quality crops are produced and wastage is reduced. The increased crop production through proper crop protection leads to less use of resources like land, water and labor. With less usage of land, biodiversity is preserved. Through this, more farm crops and produce actually reach the markets, keeping the prices low.
If farmers were to stop methods of crop protection, according to UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), around 40 percent will be lost due to pests and plant diseases.
An approach called integrated Pest Management (IPM) is helpful in reducing the wastage of farm resources. In IPM, they combine the best cultural, biological and chemical measures to keep pest and diseases away from the crops.
There are several ways and approaches to successful plant protection:
First, we use herbicides to kill unwanted plants and weeds. Weeds can be a real problem because they contest with the food crops for nutrients and space.
Plant-eating insects and roundworms attack the farm crops leaving these damaged and inedible. To eliminate these harmful insects, we use insecticides.
Lastly, we use fungicides for fungi that cause serious disease and damage to agriculture.
Biological Pest Control
With biological means of pest control, we manage weeds, insects and diseases by using other living organisms. We make use of beneficial insects that perform these valued services. You may refer to this link to learn more about beneficial insects.
We can also opt for this method in which we create barriers between plants and potential harmful pests, weather and diseases. We have bird netting, micromesh and the likes. We can also employ electronic pest deterrents.
Organic agriculture is a system that depends on ecosystem management. In this system, the potential environmental and social impacts are highly considered.
As much as possible, synthetic or chemical measures of crop protection are avoided. Instead of using artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, genetically modified seeds and breeds, additives and preservatives, we make use of site-specific management system that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility, prevent pest infestations and crop diseases.
Nowadays, as consumers begin to be more health conscious, organic food gets more and more appealing. This is why farmers should consider organic farming. It is environmental friendly and more profitable.
Why exactly do we need to invest in organic agriculture?
It cultivates healthy soil. It also aids in making fields less prone to soil erosion.
If food came from healthy soil, it is safe to say that it is healthy, too. Organic soil may host much more good bacteria than chemically treated soils. Aside from building healthy soil, organic farming also helps combat soil erosions among fields. Erosion could affect the land, food supply and us humans negatively. Through organic agriculture, occurrence of these erosions can be prevented.
It discourages usage of environmentally harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Chemically treated pesticides pose many environmental issues including soil, air and water contamination that could last up to decades
Organic agriculture fights the effects of global warming.
Studies show that healthy organic agriculture lowers the levels of carbon dioxide slowing the pace of climate change.
It helps in conservation of water.
Organic farming helps in keeping our water supplies clean by preventing water pollution. By organic farming, great amount of water is conserved through proper soil management.
Organic farming supports the health of farmers and also the animal health and welfare
Because organic farmers do not use harmful chemicals in maintaining their farms, they are not exposed to health issues associated with these. Moreover, organic farmers encourage birds and natural predators to habituate nearby as they serve in natural pest control.
The steps or process of handling crops right after harvest is referred to as postharvest management. We should note that the moment a crop is taken from the ground or separated from its mother plant, its spoilage or deterioration begins.
Post-harvest plays a very important role in crop production as it determines the final product’s quality. If the crops turned out to be in good condition after postharvest it can be sold as fresh consumption. On the other hand, if the crops turned out damaged, these would be used as raw ingredients for processed food products.
Post-harvest technologies are combination of techniques and inter-disciplinary science applied to crops after harvest for the purpose of their preservation, quality control, processing, storage and distribution. These technologies will make sure that products will meet the food and nutritional needs of the consumers.
Post-harvest technology improves agricultural production by numerous ways:
1. It prevents post-harvest losses
2. It adds values to agricultural products.The crops along with its nutrients are properly conserved.
3. It supports in the poverty issues of the economy as it generates employment opportunities for the locals.
Investing in effective post-harvest technologies and products guarantees the best possible quality of the products, food safety and the least losses. Say for example, because temperature has a huge impact on the rate of metabolism of the products, lowering the temperature as quickly as possible is the best solution to slower the metabolism of the harvested crops to prolong shelf life.
An additional defense to the deterioration of plants after harvest is choosing safe organic formulas or disinfectants that can protect the produce from harmful microorganisms. It can save you a lot by preventing losses the natural way. Farmers won’t need to apply any other chemical formula just to preserve the crops, as these might pose health risks to consumers.
If you are a coffee person and you are actually reading this, appreciate your next cup of coffee. As much as you always get that coffee you crave forever. There might come a time that coffee won’t be easy to avail.
Unfortunately, it’s not just us people who love coffee. Over the recent years, coffee rust or “Roya” in Spanish, has been a plague in Central and South American coffee farms. They are notorious coffee-eating plant pathogens that messes up the healthy growth of plants. These have airborne spores making it really a pain to control. Once it has infiltrated your field of coffee, brace yourself for the worst.
What CLR does is that it attacks the leaves of the coffee plant, disabling it to photosynthesize efficiently. No photosynthesis means no more coffee beans.
To orient you and give you a glimpse of this issue, we have gathered here a few facts about coffee leaf rust.
1. Colombia’s primary coffee crop, the Coffea Arabica, which accounts for 70% of all the world’s coffee has been devastated by this Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR). The Colombian government has spent over $1 billion over the last three years to address this issue.
2. Drinking a cup of coffee affected by CLR is like drinking a wood flavored drink. Yes, I hate to break it to you but…
3. CLR has caused Guatemala to have 40 % less coffee production last year.
4. The affected region in Central and South America is the same size as Europe. Imagine that! That is a whopping 10 million sq. kilometers.
5. Coffee leaf rust has been a really serious problem that coffee farmers weigh between investing in its mitigation of feeding their families.
Fortunately, the race has started to develop solutions to cure or prevent coffee plants from CLR. Some have been also developing coffee that has enough genetic diversity and resistance to beat these CLR once and for all.