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Economic importance of pests - SS2 Agriculture Lesson Note

Pests have a significant economic impact on agriculture and various industries. 

  • Reduction in Quality of Crops: Pests like insects, fungi, and bacteria can damage crops by feeding on them or causing diseases. This often leads to a reduction in the quality of harvested crops. For example, insects may leave blemishes or holes in fruits and vegetables, making them less appealing to consumers. Lower-quality crops result in decreased market value and may fetch lower prices for farmers.


  • Reduction in Quantity of Crops: Pests can also lead to a decrease in crop yields. Insects, rodents, and other pests can devour or damage plants, reducing the overall quantity of crops that can be harvested. This directly affects the farmer's income, as they have less to sell and, consequently, less revenue to cover their production costs.


  • Making Vegetables Unattractive and Unmarketable: Some pests specifically target vegetables, making them unattractive and unmarketable. For instance, root-knot nematodes can deform the roots of vegetables like carrots and potatoes, making them unappealing to consumers. Farmers may have to discard or sell such produce at significantly lower prices, leading to financial losses.


  • Increased Production Costs: To combat pests, farmers often need to invest in various pest control measures, such as pesticides, insecticides, and pest-resistant crop varieties. These control measures come with their own costs, including the purchase of chemicals and the labor required for application. These added expenses can reduce the overall profitability of farming operations.


  • Impact on Food Supply and Prices: When pests cause widespread damage to crops, it can affect the overall food supply. Reduced availability of certain crops can lead to price increases in the market. This, in turn, can have a direct impact on consumers' wallets, as they may need to spend more on essential food items.


  • Global Trade and Export: Pests can create trade barriers for agricultural products. Many countries have strict regulations regarding pest contamination in imported goods. If a pest infestation is detected in exported crops, it can result in trade restrictions, bans, or additional testing requirements, which can harm a nation's agricultural exports and economy.
Recommended: Questions and Answers on Economic importance of selected pests for SS2 Agriculture
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