It is necessary to achieve among the producers a greater culture on the application of biological means

Without waiting for chemicals to be imported, farmers must turn even more to using biological means to combat pests, an activity that is also conditioned by the country's financial situation and the climate change that is becoming increasingly imminent.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- The traditional chemical products, which were previously used to treat agricultural crops attacked by pests and diseases, are no longer available; however, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. The issue now forces producers to make use of biological means, which are healthier and cheaper, with greater strength and regularity.

These bio-pesticides have the effect of bio-fertilizers for the soil and bio-stimulants for crops, which is essential in the production of healthy food, because they free the soil of chemical substances that are harmful to human health. Their application is part of the agroecological system required by modern agriculture.

Odalis Peralta Cervantes, head of the Plant Health Department in the province of Las Tunas, explained to 26Digital that “the territory's phytosanitary strategy has increasingly reduced the use of chemicals and a series of measures have been drawn up using biological means obtained by the Biological and Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Labiofam) or the Entomophagous and Entomopathogenic Reproduction Centers (CREE)."

With guaranteed quality, reports Peralta Cervantes, “we have diversified the use of lime hydrate, tobacco, nim, which can be made from certified artisan production; in addition to the use of Cardona tree, repellent traps and other alternatives that producers are aware of.”

The Plant Health Directorate develops actions in the areas to be planted in the province and in articulation with the territorial stations of plant protection (ETPP), through monitoring and tracking, analyzes the rates of pests and responses are given in correspondence with the phytosanitary strategy in the various campaigns.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health, which aims to raise global awareness of how protecting plant health can help eradicate hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment and boost economic development - a difficult but necessary challenge!


There is an idea that biological products are not as effective as chemicals and this is totally uncertain. There are many producers who use them and their results are significant.

In that sense, the head of the department warns that “sometimes, when the pest population is very large, chemicals are used to reduce the scale and then apply the biological one, but if a culture of these controls is maintained constantly, the harmful ones are not needed,” she explained.

“The producers must be trained so that they can make effective and permanent use of the bio-fertilizers. Through field work, producer-to-producer visits and educational programs in the media, we must reach them with timely information so they know the benefits of some and the disadvantages of others,” she stressed.
This criterion is joined by Reinier García Valverde, director of the ETPP in the territory, who outlines that “the use of biological means is for when the pest is in small stages and that the incidence does not reach intense rates. With biological control, the use of fertilizers does not have to be reached.”

It is necessary to achieve among the producers a greater culture on the application of biological means, not only because of the current economic situation, but also because of nature and human health demand it.

Zenia Torres Santos, director of the Provincial Plant Health LaboratoryFor her part, Zenia Torres Santos, director of the Provincial Plant Health Laboratory, emphasizes that “the producers are looking for chemicals because they see them as a faster way to deal with pests, but they do not realize that by using chemicals they are also displacing the biological controls with which they can protect and manage the plants. Hence the importance of using biological means that are noble and only affect the organism that is causing damage to the crops.”


Margarita Peña Rodríguez, a specialist in Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine, appreciates that biological means are of significant importance in replacing chemical products.

“In the application of the latter, the environmental contamination of the soil, the air, and the personnel who work with them is a disadvantage and brings with it the appearance of diseases. This has a solution because they can be substituted by biological ones, such as entomophagous: the organisms and insects that are beneficial for controlling phytophages in crops,” said the expert.

“For example, there is the Trichogramma, she continues, which is the leader in biological controls and is used to treat lepidopteran eggs and other types of insects. Another is cotesia, which counteracts the larvae of Lepidoptera, while the use of Iysiphlebus is to neutralize aphids.”

On the use of the popular parrot or guagüita, makes a section Peña Rodríguez, because this is very efficient for protection against phytophagous, such as mites and tripes.

“Today it is essential that more programs are developed in all the productive units of the province for the adoption of biological control by the producers and with it they know the beneficial insects that are great allies in the control of plagues.”

Positive experiences come from Becerra, in the Calixto Sarduy agricultural production cooperative (CPA), where its president Reydenis González Céspedes states that “to improve the soils, which are not very fertile, we appeal to the production of organic matter and worm humus. Likewise, we make bio compost, with crop residues and animal manure.”

This is also what Ilso Velázquez Pérez, from the Gerardo Antonio credit and service cooperative (CCS) in Majibacoa, says, “in addition to a farm dedicated to citrus fruits, I have a corral where I keep my animals and they help me produce biological fertilizers.” He declared war on fertilizers long ago and in response, he produces his own fertilizers. His yields? The best. "Who said that to have a good harvest you have to use chemicals? I get it with organic fertilizers.

Argel Frank Fundora, a local producer, also advocates the use of organic matter. From Urban Agriculture, he comes to the table with chemical-free products with very good quality and extremely healthy. “Our areas are totally ecological, we do not use fertilizers; when some of the sowed ones are infected, we eliminate the cultivation and we do not apply these products, because in the end, they deteriorate the human health.”

He also lists the agroecological techniques he uses, among which he mentions millet barriers, corn, sorghum, and as repellent plants, copetua, oregano and nim, along with other varieties that give off a strong odor and this helps keep pests out of the crops, he said.


The business group known as Biological and Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Labiofam) in Las Tunas is taking a firm step forward in its commitment to replace imports and guarantee organic products for crops and soils.

Yusimí Tamayo Ronda, Business and Production Director of Labiofam, says that “there are three environmentally friendly and chemical-free basic products that this company basically makes, such as pesticides and soil fungi. The tricosave, baseave and nicosave are made by us in our CREE and later they are commercialized by the Logistics Business Group of the Ministry of Agriculture (Gelma).”

For example, “tricosave is excellent for disinfecting the soil and the seedbed when taking it to the land, and many of our farmers do not know it,” Yusimí warned.
“Farmers must make their demands for one year and we produce them accordingly, but even the order for this noble and efficient product is very little. Our intention is to produce more and we are able to do so; even when there is no packaging we look for alternatives so that marketing does not stop.”