Although traditional plant protection methods are still important in developing countries, pesticides have become widely used in the past few decades. There are three types: herbicides (weed killers) fungicides, and insecticides. Their use is influenced by socioeconomic as well as the agroecological factors .
The developing countries have a relatively small share in overall pesticide use (about 20% , but a very big share in insecticide use (about 50% ). For the first figure, there are two explanations: the relatively high costs of pesticides and the relatively low costs for labor. The latter figure can be explained by the higher incidence of insects in the humid tropics .
It is expected that pesticide use in the developing countries will still be increasing in the coming decade. This will occur because of the rising labor costs in some countries and the intensification and expansion of agriculture . Through a combination of technological change, improved management and incentives, and increasing application of integrated pest management (IPM), this growth could be contained at fairly low rates . In the industrial countries the declining growth in agricultural production, improved legislation, and a further spread of IPM could lead to a absolute decline in the total use of pesticides .
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