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Introduction What is the goal of agriculture Mainly it is to produce healthy food affordable for consumers to purchase while ensuring that farmers are able to earn a decent income Recently with greater environmental awareness in society in general it is also now very important to protect the agricultural environment This is a big challenge for farmers as they must still obtain reasonable yields and produce quality produce in order to meet the demands of the market Both these can be severely affected by harmful organisms commonly referred to as pests weeds disease etc that compete against infect or damage the cultivated crop in a detrimental manner The most economic and effective way to handle these has been to employ pesticides many of which are now composed of synthetic chemicals and it is these substances - very beneficial from the economic and production aspects of farming - which can pose risks to human health and the environment if not properly used Pest problems are not new in fact they have been around as long as agriculture itself But the pest pressure faced by farmers is now as great as it ever was the worlds fast-growing human population needs to be fed from an always shrinking base of agricultural land and the substantial damage that can be inflicted by pests eg insects diseases weeds rodents birds on crops is the margin between a good harvest and a bad one Pests can reduce the quality of a harvest as well as its quantity Since the quality of food is increasingly important to consumers a pest could reduce the value of a crop or make it unsaleable But it is important to keep in mind that pests are not the only cause of yield reduction and of lower quality produce factors such as soil fertility and availability of water may have a greater influence in a particular situation Hence crop protection has always been
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