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Safj Sa Fruit Journal Hortgro Current Trends
October / November 2023

Current trends in crop protectants

SA Fruit Journal: October / November 2023

Old products are being lost faster than new ones are introduced. Where does this leave growers? By Anna Mouton

Agricultural production has exploded during the past 60 years. Take global cereal production: it increased 250% from 1961 to 2021, while land under cereal production increased by only 14%. South African cereal yields rose by nearly 370% in the same period. How were these extraordinary gains achieved?

The success of the so-called Green Revolution is due to technology: higher-yielding cultivars, controlled irrigation, and synthetic crop protectants. And this technology continues to improve.
A 2018 study by Phillips McDougal for CropLife International shows that the average application rates of active ingredients in crop protectants have declined by more than 95% from the 1950s to the 2000s. Crop yields per unit of active ingredient applied increased by more than 10% during 1980 – 2016.

But agriculture now faces a crisis in crop protection. Existing products are falling away, and new product development and registration have slowed – will growers soon find their crop-protection toolbox empty?

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