June 2011 – December 2014
Global warming and water pollution makes it increasingly difficult for local farmers to provide healthy and nutritious produce. Water pollution, hectic weather shifts, and an increasing number of pests have driven farmers to use larger amounts of chemicals (pesticide, fertilizers) on their land.
Increase of chemical use threatens consumer and environmental health and puts into question the reliability of local produce and leads to an increasing demand of consumer for organic products. As a result, chemical use advocates for more imported foods. It is a vicious circle that financially puts pressure on local farmers.
The biopesticides are a sustainable alternative for the chemical pesticides. Increasing the use of effective, ecofriendly products like Bio-pesticides decreases farmer’s dependency on harmful chemicals necessary for crop growth. A problem, however, is that bio-pesticides are expensive and they are mainly imported since there is no local biopesticides production.
Addressing the concern, arcenciel’s agriculture program and the sciences faculty at USJ succeeded to develop Lebanon’s first Bio-pesticide factory. Made from local strains of Bacillus thurengensis, our bio-pesticide is effective and cost-efficient. The bio-pesticide was tailored to fight Lepidoptera, a pest family that is currently threatening Lebanese pine forests and may cause damage to many crops: vine, olives, tomatoes, apples….
Though the chemistry behind the process of bio-pesticide production is difficult, the theory is simple: the bio-pesticides contain crystals that are indigestible to Lepidoptera. It has no effects on humans, micro-organisms, animals or other insects. They specifically target Lepidoptera. These factors are very important to preserve every level of the ecosystem biodiversity. Also the use of the biopesticides can guarantee safer nutritional products, less contaminated by chemical pesticides that harm the human and the environment health.
It may be a step towards a sustainable farming sector in Lebanon.