Plant-Based Pesticides: An Alternative Fertilizer

picture1Pests always cause problems in growing vegetables. In the Ilocos, vegetables are among the major crops planted after rice because typical monsoon climate with alternating dry and rainy season favors their growth and development. The different kinds of vegetables that are usually planted are tomato, eggplant, pepper, pole sitao, cowpea, and bittergourd. Other than being sources of cash, these vegetables are also adequate sources of vitamins and minerals. However, like any other crops, these vegetables are prone to pests, which cause substantial loss in yield as a result of direct and indirect damage.

Farmers varied in their pest management practices and other cultural practices like sowing, planting, and harvesting. Most of them were dependent on inorganic fertilizers and synthetic chemical pesticide spray. Their practices influenced the growth and development of their plants. Moreover, farmers were knowledgeable on the insects and weeds attacking their plants, but not on diseases. To control these pests, farmers relied on chemical pesticide spray. Pepper, eggplant, bittergourd, pole sitao, tomato and cabbage were mostly sprayed with pesticides.

With the rising concern for environmental safety and human health, regaining interest in the development of alternative control methods should be given proper priority and attention, among which is the use of biopesticides.

Biopesticides (also known as biological pesticides) are certain types of pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.

Plants are composed of chemical substances which are not directly beneficial to the growth and development of the organism. These secondary compounds have been regarded as part of plant defense mechanism against plant feeding insects and other herbivores. These compounds have different properties such as attractants, ovicides, insecticides/fungicides and antifeedant.

Through a research project on Development of Pest Management Products and Systems for Organic Vegetable Project in Ilocos Region researchers from Mariano Marcos State University found that the project were able to identify plant materials with pesticidal property using extracts at different formulation for the development of biopesticide products side by side with other control practices, as an alternative to conventional synthetic pesticides.

Moreover, in conducting the study, researchers used plant materials, specifically potential plants with pesticidal property, Product formulation using crude extract: plant materials were washed with water, drained, chopped into small pieces and ground to finest using blender and then filtered and diluted with desired concentration, Screen of formulated products: mass rearing, isolation identification of pathogens and antagonist, phytoxicity and shelf life, and Screen house: field trial (on farm and station testing).

However, the benefits of the study are the effective in managing pests and comparable to conventional synthetic pesticides, easy to prepare, cheap, and locally available, alternative to chemical pesticides in crop protection and safe for the farmer’s use and the environment.