Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the prevention and control of pests and diseases using all existing crop protection techniques and strategies.
IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices.
IPM programmes use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.
This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.
The IPM approach can be aplied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace.
IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides.
In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals. The IPM strategy has become very important due to the growing consumer awareness of the harmful effects of pesticide residue in produce.
The international markets especially the EU, has also put in place stringent regulations and exacting requirements on production of fresh produce especially with respect to human health and environmental safety.
The issue of maximum residue limits in fresh produce is particularly emphasised due to the implications of consuming pesticide residues to human health.