Only 20% of the greenhouse production in the province of Almería is grown with biological controls, despite the fact that the province was a pioneer in its implementation about 15 years ago. Meanwhile, since 2012, there has been an increase in the sale of agrochemicals.
Various awareness-raising campaigns are being carried out by the Government of Andalusia, as well as other private centers and associations. One of the latest has been the ‘I love bichos’ campaign, promoted by Coexphal and aimed at achieving zero waste production, quality and therefore food security, which is what Almeria's agriculture is known for. Biological control must, therefore, continue to grow and innovate until this objective has been achieved.
When plantations are in the first phases of the cultivation process, they go through a critical period for their viability, and pest control measures have to be extreme, since changes in environmental conditions like humidity, luminosity and soil can cause damage from water stress, burns and root asphyxiation, facilitating the development of pathogens. Therefore, biological control is the best preventive tool.
The situation can change a lot depending on the crop. While in peppers biological control is practically the standard; in tomatoes, cucumbers or zucchini it is still hardly used. In fact, this year's growth is associated with peppers, since it is expected that this crop's acreage will increase by 10% this campaign, following a 17% growth in the previous one.