Foundations and developments of pest management in Uruguay
a review of the lessons and challenges
FAO has proclaimed 2020 as the “International Year of Plant Health”. In this context, the present review aims to synthesize the rich history of pest management in Uruguay. To our knowledge, this effort is unprecedented. To accomplish this, the development of pest management methods was compiled from the second half of the 19th century to the present; including changes in thinking and acting on the matter. Milestones in the use of chemical insecticides, biological and ethological control, agroecology and genetic resistance were emphasized for the different production areas (horticulture, fruticulture, intensive cropping, and forestry). In Uruguay, plant health has been present in concerns and actions from the early times. Pioneering in South America due to its early focus on ecological content (e.g. biological control), and a strong relationship between the scientific community (teaching, research, extension), innovative farmers, and the State. Despite of these, it has not been possible to substantially modify the universe of pest control in the country, where the inadequate management of chemical insecticides predominates. However, the growing concern of consumers for safe food, produced in care of the environment (sustainability), transforms this demand into attributes of differentiation and valorization. New milestones are expected to help improve Uruguay's international insertion as a producer of high-quality food, under parameters of social and environmental protection.
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