Pesticide Registration Toolkit

Step 3. Identify potential alternatives


This step aims at identifying potential alternatives to the HHP for the selected crop–pest combinations.

Information required and possible sources

Different categories of alternatives can be evaluated, ranging from physical measures, to host-plant resistance, to biocontrol, to low-risk synthetic pesticides. Alternatives may include options already available in the country or region, having shown to be effective in other parts of the world, or still in a development stage.

Possible sources of information on alternatives include:


Possible sources (also see the Internet resources and Case studies pages)

Non-chemical production approaches (e.g. organic production, zero budget natural farming)


  • Non-chemical production systems that are already operational in the country or in countries with similar agricultural conditions.
  • Relevant databases, web sites, publications and books


Biological control


  • National and international research institutes
  • Relevant databases, web sites, publications and books


Biopesticides registered for the given crop–pest combination



Low-risk synthetic pesticides


  • National pesticide register
  • Pesticide registers in other countries
  • Pesticide importers or distributors in the country


Combinations of the above (e.g. IPM, IVM, agroecology)


  • IPM, IVM, agroecology systems that are already operational in the country
  • National and international research institutes
  • Relevant databases, web sites, publications and books


Pipeline solutions (not yet operational)


  • Scientific publications




  • Compile as many options as possible to replace the HHP for the prioritized crop-pest combination, taking into account the various categories of alternatives.
    Special attention should be given to combinations of pest management measures as synergies between control practices may lead to pest suppression which far exceeds the sum of the separate individual measures.
  • Make use of locally available sources (e.g. research institutions, plant protection experts, NGOs active in agriculture or public health, (bio)pesticide importers and distributors), information from neighbouring countries that have gone through a similar process, along with relevant international sources. The Internet resources page can assist in this search.
  • Check whether relevant Case studies are available which can provide ideas about the process of identifying alternatives, as well as successful cases of replacing HHPs or other high-risk pesticides by low-risk alternatives.
  • A regulator can decide to:
    • gather information directly from key stakeholders on all possible alternatives; or
    • establish a technical expert panel; or
    • commission a study to a research institution.
  • If the pesticide to be substituted is extensively used in more than one country, there might be scope to establish a regional collaboration initiative on alternatives.

It is important in this step to compile as many options as possible to replace the HHP. The evaluation of what is feasible in the local situation will be done in the next step.

Example summary of the identification of potential alternatives for HHP-X, for a priority crop-pest combination, in a hypothetical country

Pesticide to be replaced: HHP-X

Crop: Cotton

Pest: American bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera)

Possible conclusions:

Several potential alternatives to HHP-X are known to be effective against American bollworm in cotton. Some of these alternatives are already available in the country.






Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki

Applied as biopesticide

Registered in this country

Used in various other countries

Commercially available in this country.

Biopesticides are VAT exempted

Local biopesticide importer

Trichogramma spp. (various species)

Inundative release of the parasitoid at the egg stage of the bollworm.


Requires local mass rearing facility; or importation of commercial Trichogramma egg cards.

Exact species to be checked.


Helicoverpa armigera nuclear polyhedrosis virus (HaNPV)

Applied as biopesticide


Can be produced at farm level, but in limited quantities

Biopesticides are VAT exempted


IPM – SIRATAC system



Request national cotton research institute to assess its relevance for the local situation


IPM – FFS approach


Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso

Cost-effectiveness has been shown under similar conditions


Insecticide Q

Low-risk insecticide

Effective against early instar larvae

Registered in this country

Used in several countries in Latin America

Rapid resistance development observed in several countries. Would require resistance management plan (e.g. rotation).

Pesticide register

National cotton research institute

Insecticide P

Low-risk insecticide

Applied against early and mid instar larvae

Used widely in the USA and Australia

Not registered in this country

Resistance development observed, but seems relatively slow if used in rotation


Outcome of Step 3

A list of potential alternatives to the HHP in the prioritized crop-pest combination(s), for further assessment.



Next: Step 4. Compare alternatives and identify viable options

Back: Step 2. Evaluate crops/pests for which alternative(s) need to be sought