Chemical protection of crops has become an important part of crop farming for which certain facts must be understood. In fact, the development of chemicals protection for crop plants is an important activity within the chemical industry. Some of these chemicals, the insecticides, are also very important in combating plant, human and animal diseases. Without chemicals, many crops would suffer dramatic losses. Food crops must compete with 30,000 species of weeds, 3,000 species of worms and 10,000 species of plant-eating insects. Even the threats don’t stop once crops leave fields – bugs, molds and rodents can all cause damage in storage . Pesticides can prolong the life of crops and prevent post-harvest losses. Proper disinfection of growing facilities can have a huge impact. Preventing problems at the outset of the crop production improves quality throughout the life of the plant.
Groups of crop protection chemicals
The groups of chemicals that dominate the part of the chemical industry connected with crop protection are herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. Herbicides kill or inhibit growth of unwanted plants (weeds) while fungicides act against fungi. Pesticides are grouped into three main categories depending on the purpose they are usually applied for. Insecticides, as the name suggests, destroy harmful insects. There are acaricides which protect plants from mites. Finally there are Nematicides to control nematodes that attack the plants. Pesticides help farmers grow more food on less land by protecting crops from pests, diseases and weeds. Thus, they help to raise productivity per hectare. Increase in food productivity helps to reduce hunger. They also help farmers provide an abundance of nutritious, all-year-round foods, which are necessary for human health at affordable prices .
However, farmers need to understand some basic facts about the use of chemicals in crop protection.
Facts about chemical crop protections
Effective use of chemical protection method of agriculture requires the following knowledge:
- Crop protection chemicals can act in several ways: direct contact with plant tissues, for example, leaves; paraquat is a typical contact herbicide. Others work by root uptake and transportation to the upper parts of the plant. Some can kill all kinds of organisms, including harmless and useful species while others act on target species of plant and animals.
- Crop protection chemicals are generally act fast.
- Crop protection are chemically poisonous; concentrated harmful pesticides could cause skin irritation. Also, accidental inhalation/ingestion of pesticide spray causes various pulmonary diseases.
- The plant that needs protection may itself suffer from the toxic effects of the protection products if recommended dosage is not followed.
- Chemical pesticides are often not just toxic to the organisms for which they were intended, but also to other organisms.
- Chemical residue left after on harvested crop may cause food poisoning.
- Environmental pollution may result from careless use of agro-chemicals.
- Pests may develop resistance to crop protection chemicals.
Agrochemical producers have considerably improved the environmental and toxicological properties of these chemicals over the last six decades. In fact, consistent research efforts has led to production of chemicals that are not just potent to protect crops from a wide range of insects, diseases and weeds but also do not affect the environment in any other way .
 Sánchez-Bayo, F., & Tennekes, H. A. (2015). Environmental risk assessment of agrochemicals-A critical appraisal of current approaches. Toxicity and Hazard of Agrochemicals, 1.