ISCA is meeting United Nations call for sustainable agriculture

The United Nations is urging the world’s farmers to “adopt environmentally friendly pest-management practices – including those based on biological approaches that do not kill pollinators and beneficial insects and organisms.”

It’s one of several recommendations that come with the UN General Assembly’s recent declaration that 202O is the “International Year of Plant Health” as part of the UN’s mission to end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.

ISCA stands ready to help growers worldwide meet this challenge. For more than two decades, ISCA has been developing a line of many pest-control solutions that use pheromones and other safe, naturally occurring compounds that control insect pests by manipulating their behavior.

“ISCA works with semiochemicals, the chemical cues already in nature, to control the devastating pests that destroy crops and spread disease,” said Agenor Mafra-Neto, ISCA’s CEO and co-founder. “Our innovations control these pests without polluting the environment or harming non-targeted species.”

Invasive insect pests, such as the fall armyworm, are causing food insecurity in parts Africa. Pictured here are two girls in a village outside of Muheza, Tanzania. ISCA photo by David Danelski

Several ISCA products work by preventing specific insect pest species from mating. These technologies release a synthetic version of a particular pest’s sex pheromone in the field, which confuses the males to point where they can’t find calling females for mating, and the next generation of damaging larvae never hatch.

Working with the US Department Agriculture, ISCA developed such a mating disruption control for the invasive gypsy moth that is now used in aerial treatments by the US Forest Service to protect woodlands in 10 US states between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

More recently, ISCA developed a mating disruption control called SPLAT FAW for the fall armyworm, a devasting moth species from South America that has spread recently through Africa and Asia. This moth has caused billions of dollars in damage and food shortages in Africa by devouring corn and several other crops.

We wouldn’t exist without plants. They provide the oxygen we breathe and most of the food we eat. Yet the UN’s Food Agriculture Organization estimates 40% of food crops are lost every year to plant diseases and insect pests.

Plant health is increasingly under threat, as climate change and human activity have reduced biodiversity and created new conditions where damaging pests can thrive. At the same time, a tripling of travel and trade volumes have allowed invasive pests to spread quickly around the world.

ISCA, however, is devoted to offering and creating environmentally safe, effective, and economical pest control innovations that prevent crop losses from these invasive pests.