More harmful pesticides should be more expensive: A case study with wine grapes

Photo Credit: Eva Fan

A recent study published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation found that farmers are more likely to purchase less expensive pesticides, and those that cost less also are the most harmful to the environment and to human health. Protecting crops against insect pests is essential for farmers to produce high-quality food. However, the popular strategy of using insecticide sprays usually does not come without costs to the environment and human health. This study worked with wine grape farmers in Northern Italy and discovered that the least detrimental chemicals cost the most money. The high cost prevented farmers from purchasing those insecticides that would be better for people and the planet. The researchers suggested that a tax could be applied to more harmful chemicals to level the playing field and influence farmers to choose more responsible insecticides without having to make drastic changes to governmental regulation in the field.