|Synopsis on Integrated Pest Management in Developing Countries (NRI, 1991, 20 p.)|
35. An appropriate policy environment is essential to the establishment of IPM. The need to generate self-sufficiency in food production is a powerful imperative for most, if not all, developing countries and there remains a strong tendency to support simple short-term approaches with a rapid pay-off such as those dependent on pesticides. The situation is further complicated by the vested interests that surround the pesticide industry and its undoubted political and commercial influence in developing countries. Pesticide subsidies have done a great deal to undermine their rational and judicious use, eventually to the producers' disadvantage.
Governments of Developing Countries subsidize pesticide production and sales in a variety of ways: through access to foreign exchange on favourable terms, through tax exemptions, through easy credit and below-cost sales by government-controlled distributors. The median level of subsidy is around 44% of retail cost and in large countries with generous subsidies such as Egypt (estimated at 83% of full retail cost) the total cost is US$207 million annually. In Indonesia (estimated 82%) until the subsidy system was dismantled and IPM adopted as national policy, the total annual cost was US$128 million.
36. The pesticide industry is beginning to take a longer-term view and can be expected to contribute to the development of IPM in developing countries, given the reality that pesticides will continue to form a part of the solution to most problems and that agrochemical companies are now diversifying their interests into alternative approaches to pest management, particularly those based on biotechnology. A number of developing countries have declared IPM as a national plant protection policy. Such a step has major impact in facilitating change at the grass-roots level.