A framework for the future

The simplest and most concise means of presenting a framework for the future of pest management is to make a number of unsubstantiated statements. The arguments for these are largely to be found or can be inferred from the main body of the book.

1. There will be a number of influential paradigms that will both guide and constrain the development of pest management. These will be: (i) the need to obtain sustainability in agriculture and by implication sustainable pest management; (ii) biotechnology; and (iii) pressure for scientists to commercially exploit the intellectual property generated by their research.

2. The panacea for agriculture will be transgenic crops even though ultimately such approaches will be acknowledged as ecologically unsustainable for pest management. Despite concerns among pressure groups and the general public transgenic crop products will become more widely available but diagnostic techniques will enable consumers to differentiate and make informed choices about GM food products.

3. There will be a proliferation of smaller agribusiness companies as the multinationals reduce product ranges of chemical pesticides to meet only major markets and concentrate on biotechnology. The smaller niche markets will be exploited by more specialized companies meeting local and regionally based markets. There will be a continued diversification of IPM products.

4. There will be increasing financial pressure to manage public sector research and development more cost effectively, leading to greater collaboration and accountability. Also decision-makers will be pressured to understand and account for the scientific process as well as its outputs. More emphasis will thus be placed on generating income from research outputs (materials, devices and know how) which will inevitably mean greater effort directed towards pest management products rather than techniques. Reinvestment of income derived from sale of pest management products into the institutes and universities that generated them will allow public finances to fund 'public good' research such as pest management techniques.

5. The environment will increasingly be seen as a social issue. Information sources will expand and diversify, improving understanding and education of the general public which could balance the likelihood of the need for a more stringent regulatory environment. The ability for mass audiences to vote on major issues through television or the internet will significantly affect the way in which governments develop policy and evaluate perception of risk associated with new technologies. 6. Frameworks to promote international public/private sector collaboration will be established to better coordinate and identify the most effective means of promoting sustainable agriculture for major crop commodities on a global scale.

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