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Scared of the word Pesticide? What about Biopesticides?

We were talking to Marta Ruiz, our Portfolio Marketing Manager for Southern Europe about our last blog which focussed on what people meant when they only wanted to eat “natural” food and were worried about the use of pesticides.

Text in a book

Do you sell pesticides or crop protection products?

Marta pointed out that she found the use of the word “pesticide” in the blog a little shocking since it has such negative connotations in Spain and Portugal that nobody uses the term in agriculture unless you are very anti their use. On reflection, that is true in many countries in Europe and around the world and to some extent this also happens in the UK. The Crop Protection Association represents companies in the UK that produce and/or sell pesticides yet it is not called the UK Pesticide Association; single issue groups such as PAN-UK, however, do not shy away from being called the Pesticide Action Network. The European Crop Protection Association went one step further and recently rebranded as CropLife Europe.

Do you sell biopesticides or biocontrol products?

Not surprisingly, the conversation swiftly shifts to what that means when we want to talk about AlphaBio products. Is FLiPPER®, our best-selling product a bio-pesticide, a biopesticide, a bio-insecticide, a selective-biocontrol-agent-that-controls-insects, or a natural control product? Of course it is all of these – and it is also a crop protection product, a pesticide (albeit a naturally derived pesticide) and an insecticide as well.

Words matter!

Whatever it is that you are selling, the words you use to describe your product matter. I wonder, for example how many people outside of Germany can translate Vorsprung durch Technik? And yet most people know it stands for quality and innovation.

There is no point describing your product with a word that automatically gives some people a bad view of it, nor does it make sense to hide what it does. For some, any association with the word pesticide sullies the product involved even if it kills pests (the definition of pesticide) and is required to reduce food losses to pests, diseases and weeds. For others, they find the word biocontrol or crop protection product unilluminating and cumbersome until they eventually have a lightbulb moment and say “oh, you mean pesticide”.

AlphaBio and Words

Here at AlphaBio Control (note the “Control”, it is not called AlphaBio NastyPesticide Ltd), we use naturally sourced ingredients which are bioactive, compared with the petrochemical-derived products which make up the majority of a farmer’s current arsenal of pesticides crop protection products, improving the environmental impact and reducing the carbon footprint of their use.

Thus FLiPPER® uses extract of olive oil as a natural insecticide or bioinsecticide or bio control agent, and MiSSiTO® uses extracts from sunflower oil as a bioherbicide. They are both biopesticides and in English the addition of the bio-prefix opens up the opportunity to explain why people should be excited by them. In Spanish, the word pesticide, even with the bio-prefix does not work; for them biocontrol is much more appropriate.

Either way, you will hope the farmers recognise them as quality innovative products:- Vorsprung durch Technik!