A pesticide is a substance that kills unwanted or disease-causing organisms (pests). There are numerous forms of pesticides, e.g., insecticides that kill insects and fungicides that kill fungi, among others.
The term “biopesticides” refers to pesticides made from living things like bacteria, animals, plants, fungi, etc. They are used to control pests and diseases. They are a potential substitute for chemical pesticides in the agricultural sector. Additionally, they are more popular because they are less expensive to develop and eco-friendly. According to UK research and innovation, biopesticide sales are valued at $2.3 billion globally. Biopesticides account for about 5% of the overall pesticide market and are growing at a rate of about 15% per year.
In Africa, there are more than 200 registered biopesticide active ingredients and 780 products. Several African companies have created and distributed biopesticides to promote sustainable agriculture and food security. These include, but are not limited to:
Africa Green Life
Green Life Africa, a Kenyan company, is dedicated to providing a diverse range of high-quality and reasonably priced crop protection, crop nutrition, pest control, and general agricultural consulting products. With products made specifically for each agricultural sector in Kenya, this company has positioned itself to meet their needs. Baciguard is a bioinsecticide derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (a bacteria). This bioproduct is effective against a wide range of pests, including aphids, African bollworms, and whiteflies, which attack cereals, vegetables, and ornamentals.
Toothpick Company Limited
This company has developed one of the world’s first commercialized bioherbicides, KichawiKillTM, which uses a fungus called Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. strigae as the main active ingredient. The bioherbicide is effective against striga weed, which attacks cereal crops throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and causes up to 100% yield loss on 40 million farms. Toothpick Company Limited is based in Kenya and currently operates in the Western and Nyanza regions of the country, where this weed is prevalent. It employs an inclusive business model in which selected farmers are trained to manufacture the bioherbicide at the village level, thereby increasing their revenue generation. The social enterprise provides cutting-edge agricultural innovation that promotes food security, increases farmer income, and safeguards natural resources.
This company’s biopesticide products offer growers a unique set of biological solutions that have been used globally for over twenty years. Real IPM biopesticides are already registered in several African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and South Africa. They are made up of distinct species that work specifically on pests, diseases, and root health.The company plans to create low-cost biological solutions and comprehensive programs to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Real Metarhizium is a bioinsecticide that uses the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae strain ICIPE 69 and is used to control whiteflies, mealybugs, thrips, and snout beetles.
Dudutech is a subsidiary company of Bioline Agrosciences. This business is an expert in integrated pest management (IPM). The company has extensive experience in developing and delivering biological pest control solutions. They conduct research and manufacture zero-residue biological control products for environmentally and socially responsible farming. To help farmers with pest control, they have an on-site diagnostics laboratory in Kenya that helps accurately identify pests and a training department to promote their understanding. Dudutech offers more than 17 different biopesticide products, including beneficial insect predators and parasitoids, beneficial funguses (EPFs) and nematodes (EPNs), and a variety of soil health products for long-term crop security and drought mitigation.
Africa’s Biopesticide Market Analysis
The high cost associated with the use of biopesticides is limiting market growth. According to Mordor Intelligence, the high cost of these pesticides is due to a lack of infrastructure for commercial mass production of biopesticides. All in all, it has been observed that bioinsecticides take the lion’s share of the market in the Middle East and Africa.
The biopesticide industry is expected to grow fast over the next few years. There is an increase in demand for organically grown food due to the severe adverse health effects caused by the region’s widespread use of chemical pesticides. Furthermore, the pests have developed resistance against these synthetic pesticides. As a result, farmers have become more interested in environmentally friendly and effective farming practices, such as the use of biopesticides.
Disclaimer: I declare no conflict of interest. This article was written purely for educational and informational purposes.
Main photo: By USAID in Africa - USAID promotes growing alternative staple crops in Kenya such as sorghum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70818226