Insect pests and crop losses
This book chapter published by Springer discusses crop losses caused by insect pests. Modern agricultural technology has enabled us to largely keep pace with the increasing human population through increased productivity of major crops. But in addition to causing environmental deterioration, it has also resulted in increasing losses by pests, pathogens and weeds. There is however a paucity of reliable data on the extent of food losses caused by these biotic agents, especially in the developing countries. The limited data available indicate that arthropods may be destroying an estimated 18–20% of the annual crop production worldwide. Further, the losses are considerably higher in the developing tropics of Asia and Africa, where most of the future increase in world population is expected. There is an urgent need to precisely estimate the extent of food loss and waste at different stages from the agricultural fields to human consumption with emphasis on the developing countries. This is the necessary first step towards development of safe, economical and sustainable methods of pest management, as well as food security, for the future. Integrated pest management (IPM) has emerged as the dominant paradigm for minimizing damage by the insects and non-insect pests. Pest resistant cultivars represent one of the most environmentally benign, economically viable and ecologically sustainable options for utilization in IPM programs. Hundreds of insect-resistant cultivars have been developed worldwide and are extensively grown for increasing and/or stabilizing crop productivity. The other chapters of this book discuss breeding insect- resistant crops.