Botanical insecticides presently play only a minor role in insect pest management and crop protection; increasingly stringent regulatory requirements in many jurisdictions have prevented all but a handful of botanical products from reaching the marketplace in North America and Europe in the past 20 years. Nonetheless, the regulatory environment and public health needs are creating opportunities for the use of botanicals in industrialized countries in situations where human and animal health are foremost--for pest control in and around homes and gardens, in commercial kitchens and food storage facilities and on companion animals. Botanicals may also find favour in organic food production, both in the field and in controlled environments. In this review it is argued that the greatest benefits from botanicals might be achieved in developing countries, where human pesticide poisonings are most prevalent. Recent studies in Africa suggest that extracts of locally available plants can be effective as crop protectants, either used alone or in mixtures with conventional insecticides at reduced rates. These studies suggest that indigenous knowledge and traditional practice can make valuable contributions to domestic food production in countries where strict enforcement of pesticide regulations is impractical.
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