Biological control in protected crops in developing countries: difficulties, opportunities, and threats with Tunisia as an example
Abstract: The management of pests in agricultural systems is critical for ensuring crop
productivity and food security. However, concerns about the adverse impacts of chemical
pesticides have led to an increasing interest in sustainable pest management strategies,
including biological control, particularly in protected crop production systems. Over the past
few decades, developing countries, such as Tunisia, have witnessed a rise up in the adoption of protected cultivations, offering optimal environments for crop production. While biological
control offers promising solutions, its implementation in developing countries faces several
challenges. Limited awareness, inadequate infrastructures, and restricted access to information and technology hinder the widespread adoption of biological control practices. However, developing countries also present unique opportunities, such as a rich biodiversity, which can be harnessed for effective and sustainable biological control programs. The adoption of biological control in protected crops offers benefits such as reduced pesticide reliance, safer food production, and economic advantages. Nevertheless, integration challenges with other pest management methods, political instability, and ecological risks must be addressed. Overcoming these challenges and leveraging opportunities require collaborative efforts from farmers, stakeholders, policy makers, research institutions, and international organizations. By promoting awareness, capacity building, improving infrastructure, enhancing access to information, and managing risks, developing countries can successfully implement biological control in protected crop production systems, contributing to sustainable agriculture and food security. The case of Tunisia provides insights into the complexities and potential pathways for adopting and integrating biological control practices in protected agricultural systems in developing countries.