HORTYFRUTA, Andalusia's Fruits and Vegetables interbranch organization, presented the results of a survey framed within the 'I Love Bichos. Naturally Protected Crops' campaign, in which they interviewed 534 producers from Almeria and Granada about their use of biological pest control. According to the results of the survey, 96% of the pepper producers surveyed use biological pest control (the highest percentage among all crops), and 71% of tomato producers do so as well.
The number of producers that grow other crops that were surveyed was lower, and the result may be less representative for the whole field. In the case of aubergine, 83% of the 44 farmers surveyed use auxiliary insects. 60% of the producers that grow cucumbers and 47% of the producers that cultivate melon and watermelon use biological control in their crops.
Francisco Gongora, the president of HORTYFRUTA, stressed that the data obtained in the survey show that the 'I Love Bichos' campaign and its actions are bearing fruit. "However, we must continue working so that the methods of biological control and integrated control are increasingly present in the greenhouse crops of Andalusia," he added.
Increase in agro-ecological practices
One of the main conclusions that can be drawn from this survey is that there's been an increase in agro-ecological practices in greenhouses, as 47% of respondents have planted or intend to plant hedges on their sides.
In addition, 53% of the respondents say they have auxiliary plants on their farms, a percentage that increases to 65% among pepper producers and 61% among cucumber producers.
The survey also highlighted that more and more producers are using humidification systems. Half of the farmers have some type of humidification system for their crops, such as nebulization (33% of the respondents), and a quarter of them have an automated system to favor the optimal conditions for the pest's natural enemies to work satisfactorily in the summer and autumn period.
Producer's satisfaction with biological control
Finally, another important conclusion of the survey is that, in the vast majority of cases, farmers are happy with the results of biological control: 68% of cucumber and zucchini producers expressed their satisfaction with it, and 81 to 92% of the producers of other crops did so as well.
In addition, a significant number of producers that didn't use biological control in the past campaign expressed their intention to start using it in the next campaign.