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Jan Willem Ketelaar 2 and Prabhat Kumar 3 ABSTRACT The problems associated with misuse and overuse of pesticides in vegetable production in South and Southeast Asia remain serious and acute. Extensive use of pesticides on vegetables results in unsustainable production practices arising from undesirable externalities such as pesticide resistance by pest organisms, widespread environmental pollution, health hazards to farmers and their families, toxic residues in food for consumers and negative international trade implications. In addition to these problems associated with use of chemical pesticides, vegetable farmers depend heavily on chemical fertilizers. In short, vegetable production in tropical and subtropical Asia remains in a ‘crisis phase’. Vegetable yields are highly variable and vegetable production has become an ever riskier business for farmers. Without appropriate training in Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM), farmers will continue to try to increase yields through higher inputs of agro-chemicals without realizing the negative consequences. To address the above problems, the FAO Inter-Country Programme for Vegetable IPM in South and Southeast Asia has, since 1996, carried out applied research, extension and farmer education activities to promote and support Integrated Production and Pest Management in vegetables by Asian smallholder farmers. During the Phase I (1996-2001) of this Programme, the Programme focused on enhancing the Government’ and NGOs’ capability and capacity to implement IPM training programmes in seven Asian countries using the ‘Training of Trainers’ and ‘Farmers Field School’ approach. More than 600 trainers and 30,000 farmers have undergone season-long IPM training since the start of the Programme. Based on analysis of training experiences from work conducted by the FAO Programme in a variety of crops in several Asian countries, IPM trained vegetable farmers are shown to be able to avoid excessive and inappropriate use of pesticides. IPM trained farmers are then also better placed to adopt and adapt novel options that reduce further dependency and use of pesticides. The case is made that there is an urgent need to continue to develop farmers into vegetable IPM experts.
Paper to be presented at the International Conference on Vegetables to be held at the ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton and Towers, Bangalore, India from 11-14 November 2002
Jan Willem Ketelaar works as Team Leader with the FAO Inter-Country Programme to Strengthen IPM Training and Sustain IPM Practices among Vegetable Farmers in South and Southeast Asia. He is based in Vientiane, Lao PDR and can be contacted over email: email@example.com Prabhat Kumar works as consultant with the FAO Inter-Country Vegetable IPM Programme and currently is conducting his PhD studies Entomology/Horticulture, IPP, Uni Hannover, Germany and currently stationed at the Asian Institute of Technology based in Bangkok, Thailand. He can be contacted over email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
1.1 Vegetable Production in Tropical Asia Vegetables are an important part of a complete diet of Asians, adding valuable nutrients that would otherwise be insufficiently available in foods such as rice or maize. While many vegetables are native to tropical Asia, a large number are temperate in origin. New areas are continuously being opened, sometimes at the expense of rice land, to meet the demands for such vegetables as crucifers, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and beans. These are commonly grown in most Asian countries including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, The Lao PDR, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Recent figures included in table 1 below confirm their importance (see table 1). Many vegetable crops perform best in cool temperatures found in higher altitudes, but increasingly vegetable production is expanding into the lowlands with the release of new heat-tolerant varieties. The realisation of optimal yields, particularly in the warm humid lowlands, is often constrained by pests, especially with vegetables that are exotic to tropical and sub-tropical Asia. Poor horticultural practices further exacerbate these problems. Rather than ameliorate the situation, the application of pesticides most often causes resurgence of pest populations due to the destruction of their natural enemies (Shepard et al., 2001). Table 1: Recent data on area cultivated (x 1,000 ha) and production (Tons/ha) of some vegetable crops in seven selected Southeast Asian countries Cabbages Ha. n.a. 671 48 n.a. 19 8 5 T/ha. 11 25 24 13 11 11 23 Potatoes Ha. n.a. 3002 48 5 1 7 38 T/ha. 4 16 17 7 8 14 9 Tomatoes Ha. n.a. 539 33 n.a. 12 29 n.a. T/ha. 7 30 8 7 9 11 18.5 Beans Ha. n.a. 90 23 n.a. 22 6 n.a. T/ha. 10.5 13 6 9.9 4 3 10.8
Cambodia (3,4) China (1) Indonesia (1) Laos (1, 2 & 4) Thailand (1) Philippines (1) Vietnam (1,4) Notes: (1) FAO, 1998 (2) FAO, 2001 (3) DANIDA, 2002 (4) Ali, 2002
n.a. = not available
1.2 Problems Associated with Misuse and Overuse of Chemical Pesticides The misuse and overuse of chemical pesticides in vegetable production in tropical Asia remain serious and acute (Shepard et al., 2001). Pest problems in tropical vegetable production are frequent and often acute. Yields are highly variable whereas market prices can vary considerably on a day to day and season to season basis. Vegetable production has become an ever riskier business for farmers providing a clear stimulus for farmers to minimize risk and maximize preventive pesticide application. For some vegetable crops the average frequency of application of chemical pesticides is 10-20 times per season, with up to 80 applications per season for brinjal (eggplant) production in parts of South Asia (e.g. Bangladesh). In such extreme cases in Bangladesh for example, cocktails of chemicals, mixing insecticides with fungicides and herbicides, are applied every other day during the six-month eggplant growing season. These cocktails also include banned or restricted and often highly toxic insecticides such as DDT, endosulfan, chlordane, sodium cyanide, methyl parathion or monocrotophos. In Cambodia and Laos, labeling of pesticide products is often insufficient or/and inappropriate as labels are usually in foreign languages (e.g. Thai and Vietnamese) whereas a considerable part of the rural population is illiterate. Original products are often re-packaged and contain no label at all (EJF, 2002). For example, a recent study conducted in Cambodia revealed that only 8 of 77 pesticide traders said they could read foreign labels on pesticides they sold, whilst 97.5% of the pesticides were labeled in a foreign language (CEDAC, 2000) 4 . The extensive use of chemical pesticides results in a range of unsustainable production practices arising from undesirable externalities. The application of pesticides most often cause resurgence of pest populations due to the destruction of their natural enemies. Resistance of target pests against pesticides has become a serious problem for most important vegetable pest problems, e.g. Diamond Back Moth (Plutella xylostella) on crucifers and Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) on eggplants. Widespread environmental pollution has an important impact on quality of natural resources such as soils, water and fish populations (e.g. Settle & Whitten, 2000). The health hazards of chemical pesticide application to farmers and their families are serious as for example documented in various recent important health studies conducted among farmers who have been exposed to chemical pesticides (e.g. Murphy et al., 1999). Greater awareness among consumers in urban
For more graphic details on the problems associated with the trade in toxic pesticides, the reader is advised to consult the following website: www.ToxicTrail.org
communities of the dangers of toxic residues on vegetables has created an ever growing demand for vegetables free of pesticide residues. Governments in many Asian countries have now established Maximum Residue Levels “(MRLs) for pesticides on imported vegetables. Most recently, the export of okra (ladyfinger) from the Philippines and Thailand to Japan and Korea has been jeopardized because of unacceptable high levels of pesticide residues. The recent (October 2002) 24th Meeting of ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture has called for the formulation of clear norms and guidelines for such MRLs. Clearly, the importance of negative international trade implications of the overuse of toxic pesticides on vegetable production can no longer be ignored. In addition to these problems associated with use of chemical pesticides, vegetable farmers are overusing chemical fertilizers. In short, vegetable production in tropical and subtropical Asia remains in a ‘crisis phase’ (Lim & Di, 1989, Shepard & Shepard, 1997), requiring urgent attention to safeguard the production of healthy food and producers’ livelihoods Asia-wide. 1.3 Vegetable IPM: the Answer to the ‘Crisis Phase’ in Asian Vegetable Production Integrated Pest Management (see box 1) has evolved in many developing countries from a mix of various technical components (Smith & Reynolds, 1966) to a farmer-led program (FAO, 2002a). Successful IPM has always followed an ecological approach (Kogan, 1998). The decline of a chemical control paradigm came about because it could not successfully handle the problems of resistance, resurgence and secondary pest outbreaks, along with environmental and health hazards (Perkins, 1982). Alternatives to the chemical paradigm developed. The most successful of these was IPM. This approach encouraged the development of non-chemical methods that promote the growing of a healthy crop and at the same time protecting natural enemies, thus ensuring a low population of pest species. A participatory approach towards IPM demands that farmers need to be educated in the language of ecology to better appreciate the advances in an ecological pest management approach. In the last decade or so, advances in IPM in a number of Asian countries took the form of farmer education through Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) and follow-up activities. More specific to the origins of vegetable IPM in Asia and FAO’s involvement, an expert consultation on the status and management of major vegetable pests in the Asia-Pacific Region (with special emphasis on Integrated Pest Management) was held from 14-16 November 1988 (Lim & Di, 1989). This consultation marked the starting point for efforts by FAO to implement IPM in vegetables in Asia. The expert consultation found that there was overriding concern by most governments in the Asia-Pacific Region regarding pesticide misuse, pest resistance, environmental pollution, health hazards and toxic residues in vegetables, and that the region has entered the “crisis phase”. Based on this consultation, it was strongly recommended that all efforts be exerted by national and international bodies to develop IPM programmes for vegetables in the Asia and Pacific Region. The consultation agreed that “in selected vegetable production systems adequate background information to develop IPM programmes are generally available”. The consultation further agreed that “the proposed regional project should primarily concentrate on implementing practical vegetable IPM in the field.” To reach the target beneficiaries with the technical information available, it was strongly felt that the “vegetable IPM programmes should focus on human resource development through training, communication, and promotions”.
Box 1: Integrated Pest Management: Evolution of a concept The label ‘Integrated Pest Management’ has enjoyed different definitions and meanings over the last four decades and has considerably evolved. FAO, through it’s Rome based Crop Protection Service (AGPP) and its Panel of International IPM Expert, played a leadership role in the evolution of the concept between 1960 and 1980. Within FAO the concept of IPM has evolved from a strictly crop protection related concept to a much more holistic and ecological approach to crop production and protection. And the evolution of the concept hasn’t stopped since. Through the more recent pioneering work of the FAO IPM Programmes in Asia and a range of international and local development organization partners, IPM has become synonymous with education and human resource development programs. These programs often had (and continue to have) farmer training in crop protection and reduction of chemical pesticides as entry points but have subsequently broadened to include overall crop production. The more recent term “Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM)”, widely used in FAO IPM training programs, especially on the African continent, more appropriately describes the curriculum content of IPM training programs. And, equally important, the training curriculum also addresses social issues and community development aspects. Thus, the ‘IPM’ label has evolved from a strictly technical to a much more holistic approach to crop production, human resource- and rural development. The nature of this new meaning can be gauged for example by reference to material posted on the website (www.communityipm.org) and the recent 2002 FAO publication titled “From Farmer Field Schools to Community IPM: Ten Years of IPM Training in Asia“ (FAO, 2002a).
THE FAO REGIONAL VEGETABLE IPM PROGRAMME IN ASIA
2.1 Scope and Rationale for the FAO Programme The above described problems associated with misuse and overuse of pesticides in vegetable production in tropical Asia provide the rationale for FAO implementing a Regional Programme for the development and application of Vegetable IPM in vegetable production systems in several Asian countries. The FAO Programme operates currently in 7 member countries, e.g. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, whereas China will likely join the Programme in the immediate future. The Programme aims to assist farmers through training to better understand vegetable crop ecology and to minimize use of pesticides in their local crop production systems. The Programme has, since 1996, carried out applied research, extension and farmer education activities to promote and support the development and application of vegetable IPM by Asian smallholder farmers. More than 600 trainers and 30,000 farmers have undergone season-long IPM training since the start of the Programme. 2.2 Training Strategy and Methodology The standard training approach employed in the Programme is the so-called ‘Farmers Field School (FFS)’ approach. Farmers Field Schools are ‘schools without walls’ which are held in farmers’ fields. Typically, a group of about 25 to 30 vegetable farmers meet on a weekly basis and grow and study together in a vegetable crop of local relevance and choice from sowing to harvest. Through the educational tool ‘Agro-ecosystem Analysis’ farmers monitor crops and record data on observations of the crop situation. Data are analyzed by farmers and discussed in small groups. Decisions are made and implemented with regards to the needed crop management. This Agro-ecosystem Analysis is done by farmers on a weekly basis and allows farmers to deepen their understanding of local crop ecology and needs for intervention. FFSs are facilitated by expert IPM trainers, who can either be Government or NGO extension workers or be FFS-Alumni farmers themselves. IPM Expert trainers have themselves undergone seasonlong vegetable IPM training in so called ‘Training of Trainers Courses’ 5 . Working strategy of the training program is that farmers, who have undergone IPM FFS training, are better able to identify pest and disease problems and have acquired the necessary skills and confidence required to avoid the unnecessary use of chemical pesticides without yield losses. IPM farmers are then also in a much better position to make informed decisions about growing a healthy, sustainable and profitable vegetable crop. Farmers are set on a path to explore new innovative and more environment friendly options for pest and disease management (such as bio-pesticides) during follow up group learning activities as to further reduce dependency on inputs of chemical pesticides. 2.3 Major Lessons Learned of the FAO Programme’s work The FAO Programme, through it training and action research work over the last 6 years (1996-2002), has learned important lessons that provide direction for future work in the field of vegetable IPM training. Some of the most important lessons are summarized below (FAO, 2002b). 2.3.1 The Need for Vegetable Farmers as IPM Experts A most crucial lesson learned from FAO work over the last 2 decades and re-inforced by experiences of the FAO Vegetable IPM Programme, relates to the need for vegetable farmers as IPM Experts. As is relevant for rice (Whitten & Ketelaar, 2002), the ecological heterogeneity of local vegetable crop production systems is enormous and no standard extension message can adeptly address local production issues and constraints. Farmers need to thoroughly understand the local ecology in their crops and make informed decisions on crop management. There are numerous well documented case studies that confirm the notion that, rather than ‘outsiders’, farmers themselves need to become IPM experts. This important notion is reinforced, elaborated on and practically illustrated with case studies in a separate section below. 2.3.2 Farmer Field School Approach Extremely Relevant to the IPM Education of Vegetable Growers Training results have shown that vegetable farmers appreciate the non-formal education- based training methodology applied in Farmers Field Schools. Learning is a consequence of experience and FFSs provide the necessary practical experience and enabling group learning environment to understand and practice vegetable IPM. ‘Living’ problems faced in local vegetable production provide momentum for a self-discovery learning process of problem identification, analysis and trying out potential solutions to resolve problems.
For more details on the FFS approach to IPM training the reader is advised to consult the following website: www.communityIPM.org
2.3.3 Vegetable Integrated Pest Management: the Need for ‘Informed Intervention’ Most vegetables produced in Asia for local consumption and for market production are exotic in nature. Many popular cash crops such as tomatoes, crucifers, potatoes were introduced in Asia only a couple of hundred years back. Similarly, many important pest and disease problems are exotic, such as the Diamond Back Moth, which was introduced from Europe into Asia without its naturally existing complex of natural enemies. Crop protection problems in vegetable production are often severe and quite acute and, if not swiftly and adequately managed, can lead to total crop failure. Vegetable ecosystems are much less stable compared to, for example, rice (Oryza sativa) which is indigenous to Asia and for which ecosystems have evolved into extremely stable systems over a period of thousands of years. The IPM management strategy to be employed in Asian vegetable production, particularly with relevance to crop protection, should be based on ‘informed (and pro-active or preventive) intervention’ rather than ‘informed non-intervention’ which is the management strategy employed in tropical irrigated rice (Whitten & Ketelaar, 2002).
2.3.4 Lack of Knowledge on Vegetable Ecology and Good Production Practices In order to further reduce the use of chemical pesticides in conventional vegetable production, there is a need to better understand the ecology of vegetable production systems. The FAO Programme continues to support action research programmes that aim to investigate vegetable ecosystems in order to determine the roots of serious and often acute occurrence of pest and disease problems and to develop an ecosystem approach to prevent and solve problems. Active and functional links with the scientific community and the private sector are being formed to ensure that vegetable farmers have the most updated information and production inputs as to experiment with novel options for pest management. 2.3.5 Need for Innovative Curriculum Development The job of vegetable IPM trainers is quite demanding and requires the knowledge, experience and skills to be creative and innovative when it comes to curriculum development for IPM training. The vegetable IPM trainer must develop the skills and creativity needed to adapt the IPM training content and methodology to a wide range of circumstances and be able to respond pragmatically to complex problems that may emerge during implementation. Curriculum development for a variety of different vegetable crops needs more focused attention, including the need for the inclusion of such new topics as crop nutrition needs, soil management, biocontrol, post-harvest storage and marketing (see box 2). Box 2: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Some Technical and Social Curriculum Development Needs for Vegetable IPM Training of Trainers, Farmer Field Schools and Follow-up Group Learning Activities
Improved production tools (hand and power) Improved tillage practices Fruit tree and vegetable integration Improved soil mixes for transplants, solarisation and biofumigation Transplanting methods Testing of new varieties in FFS and follow up field studies Local seed production, possibly even breeding, and distribution to ensure quality seed on-time where appropriate Soil ecology and fertility – especially role of Organic Matter and micro-nutrients for specific crops (e.g. boron on cabbage, calcium on tomato) Compost crop production (high C, high calorie, high bulk crops) Crop covers/extended season methods for off-season production Disease prevention and management Explore techniques of pest and disease control that do not rely on broad spectrum synthetic pesticides Local and commercial bio-agent production and use guidelines Recommendations on pesticides with lowest impact products, with emphasis on risk reduction and health impact study work Improved farmer knowledge on pesticide performance, impact and application Improved storage of farm produce
• • • •
IPM certification/ labelling for IPM produce Consumer education materials Marketing/wholesaler education Organisation/association building e.g. for group marketing, group input purchase, local input production (bio-control agents)
2.3.6 Need for Farmer Organization among Vegetable Producers Vegetable farmers will be better able to protect, expand and sustain IPM-based production is they can organize themselves into groups and associations. They will then be better capable of taking a role in the facilitation of continued group learning and training, the production of agricultural inputs such as compost and bio-control agents and to establish and implement effective ‘bargaining power’ to achieve better prices for their vegetable produce. 3 MAKING VEGETABLE IPM WORK: THE CASE FOR FARMERS AS IPM EXPERTS As mentioned above, one of the most important lessons of FAO’s involvement in the development and application of IPM relates to the need for farmers to become IPM Experts. If vegetable IPM is to establish itself in a sustainable manner, it will need to depend on farmers themselves making vegetable IPM work on their farms. There now exists a growing body of evidence, some of it well documented (e.g. Lim & Ooi, 2002, FAO, 2002a, Shepard & Shepard, 2001), that farmers indeed can become IPM expert through appropriate IPM training and that this is a crucial part of fostering the continued development and application of vegetable IPM. In the following paragraphs, various case studies derived from the work of FAO in collaboration with various partner institutions are presented in order to illustrate this point. 3.1 Case Study 1: Reduced Pesticide Applications by IPM Expert Farmers in Eggplant Production in Bangladesh
Brinjal (eggplant) is widely grown in Bangladesh for it is one of the most preferred vegetables by local consumers. Brinjal receives the maximum amount and frequency of insecticides applications compared to all other vegetable crops in Bangladesh owing to the susceptibility of the crop to damage caused by a range of insect pests and diseases (Table 2). The abusive use of pesticides was confirmed by a baseline survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture Extension (DoAE) at the beginning of the Phase I of the FAO Regional vegetable IPM program in 1996-7. This survey showed that farmers apply insecticides up to 80 times per season with Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis) as the main target. The evident overuse of pesticides in eggplants called for a major IPM training intervention in order to allow eggplant farmers to reduce use of pesticides. Two season-long Vegetable IPM Training of Trainers Courses were held in Bangladesh throughout the life-time of the FAO Phase I Vegetable IPM Programme. These TOTs were followed by FFSs and action research programs, with a special focus on allowing farmers to understand the ecology and management of FSB. Table 2: Common Crop Protection Problems Associated with Eggplant Cultivation in Bangladesh Insect pests Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis Guenée) Thrips (Thrips palmi Karny) Red Spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus Boisduval) Green Jassids (Empoasca sp.) Epilachna beetle (Epilachna vigintioctopunctata Fabricius) Diseases (Fugal and bacterial) Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) Phomopsis rot (Phomopsis vexans) Virus diseases Little leaf disease (Mycoplasma like organisms) tobacco rattle virus cucumber mosaic virus tomato ringspot virus Nematode Root Knot nematode (Meloidogyne sp.)
Through weekly Agro-ecosystem Analysis (AESA), FFS-farmers learnt about crop ecology, which allowed them to make informed decisions on crop management. Life cycles of important pest problems and their natural enemies were explored through on site rearing and experimentation. Farmers studied the important concept of crop compensation through ‘crop compensation studies’. These studies allowed farmers to understand that
healthy crops can compensate for FSB damage, especially during the vegetative growth stage. This new understanding enabled farmers to become confident that not all FSB damage results into crop loss. IPM farmers then significantly reduced insecticide applications for FSB early in the crop growth cycle. Management options that allowed farmers to further reduce the number of insecticide application for Fruit and Shoot Borer included:
• • • • • •
Thorough cleaning of seedlings before transplanting to remove eggs and other immature stages; Regular observation of the crop during the vegetative stage and removal of the FSB infested twigs; FSB management based on weekly crop ecosystem analysis; Improved crop hygiene by sweeping dead leaf and crop debris to remove the pupae of FSB; Keeping the field surface clean and remove crop residues; Removal and sanitation of the FSB infested fruits from the field at the time of harvesting.
As a result of this new IPM knowledge acquired through participation in FFSs, IPM farmers were able to reduce the number of applications of insecticide from 60-80 sprays per season to 15 sprays per season. These results are confirmed by more recent impact analysis studies of IPM FFSs training programs implemented in collaboration with other partner organizations in Bangladesh (table 3). Table 3: FFS Impact Evaluation on Farmers Cultivating Brinjal in Bangladesh (Table taken from Lim & Ooi, 2002, adapted from DAE-DANIDA SPPS, 2001; Larsen, 2001). Parameters Benchmark (before (mean of FFSs training) evaluated) Winter 2000/01 (49 FFSs): Sprays/farmer 14.46 Granular 0.41 application per farmer Pesticide cost 7,131 (taka/ha) Yield (kg/ha) 16,737 Summer 2001 (46 FFSs): Sprays/farmer 16.27 Granular 0.45 application per farmer Pesticide cost 7,648 (taka/ha) Yield (kg/ha) 22,129 IPM-trained farmers Untrained farmers % Difference (after training)
1,414 19,370 3.31 0.09
6,777 16,887 14.62 0.34
-80.2 +15.7 -79.6 -80.1
Encouraged by these initial successes in pesticide reductions, IPM farmers formed ‘farmers clubs’. In the Jessore region of southern Bangladesh, one of the major objectives of these clubs was to further enhance the knowledge base of the farmers on wider aspects of eggplant cultivation, including proper seed bed management and better fertilizer and water management. The IPM Farmer Clubs also explored and evaluated novel options for FSB management. For example, insect-killing nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae) were imported from Thailand for field experimentation purposes by the IPM Farmer Clubs. IPM farmers learned that these nematodes could kill the FSB larvae by locating the host deep inside the eggplant branches and fruits. They also learnt that this species of the nematode would not work if local temperatures would exceed 35°C. Consequently, another more heattolerant strain, S. riobrave, was imported from Australia for experimentation purposes. Some enthusiastic IPM farmers also leant that these nematodes could be mass-produced in the homestead. Some of these farmers started experimenting with rearing the nematodes albeit without much success owing to poor hygiene and contamination of the culture. The promising and novel option of FSB control with entomopathogenic nematodes deserves further attention in action research programs that involve IPM farmers. The FAO Programme assisted other IPM FFSs programs (e.g. implemented by DANIDA-SPPS, CAREBangladesh and local NGO Proshika) in staff training to share the innovative brinjal IPM experiences. These
FFSs programs continue to develop eggplant growers into IPM experts using the FFS-training approach. Clearly, IPM Expert farmers are able to considerably reduce use of pesticides, increase yield and make eggplant production more profitable (table 3). 3.2 Case Study 2: Sustainable Management of Parasitoid Introductions by IPM Expert Farmers in Crucifer Production in Philippines and Vietnam
Diamond Back Moth (Plutella xylostella) is one of the major production constraints in crucifer production triggering farmers Asia-wide to apply chemical pesticides to combat the moths and especially its defoliating caterpillars. The exotic Diadegma semiclausum, an Ichneumonid parasitoid of DBM, is well known for its potential ability to control DBM populations (e.g. Talekar, 1992) but various introductions of the parasitoids Asia-wide over the last two decades have experienced various levels of bio-control success. These varying success levels can basically all be explained by the level of biocontrol knowledge that farmers had mastered to effectively manage the on-farm introduction of the parasitoids. The need for crucifer farmers as IPM Expert is well illustrated with the comparative case study of introductions of Diadegma semiclausum in the crucifer production areas in the Cameroon Highlands in Malaysia and in the Cordillera Highlands in the Philippines (see box 3). Box 3: Developmental Status of Diamondback Moth in the Cordillera Highlands, Luzon, The Philippines, and the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. (Lim & Ooi, 2002)
Initial conditions in both highlands (Cordillera and Cameron) Vegetable crops: Predominantly cabbage and other crucifers. Pest problems: Diamondback moth (DBM) is the most serious (among others). Pest management scenario: Farmers rely almost exclusively on chemical pesticides to control DBM. Typical insecticide treadmill (insecticide resistance development; total insecticide dependence; persistent/increasing problem with DBM; farmer poisonings and other human health hazards, environmental contamination, ecological disruption, escalating production costs) The case of DBM in the Cordillera Highlands • • • • • Diadegma semiclausum (an important parasitoid of DBM) was introduced and established in 1989 by Benguet State University (Philippines) and AVRDC. Parasitoid unable to increase/spread out beyond the released areas because farmers were unaware of the parasitoid and continued to spray heavily. DBM continued as a serious problem and farmers eventually resort to using cyanide. This resulted in the ‘cyanide’ panic scare and consumers avoiding the vegetables, threatening a collapse of the vegetable industry. A pilot TOT (Training-of-Trainers) incorporating FFS (Farmer Field Schools) mounted to teach the farmers IPM and the role of the Diadegma parasitoid, including how to conserve the biological control agent. With awareness and understanding, farmers reduced use of insecticides substantially. The parasitoid population rapidly increased to effectively control DBM. With more TOTs/FFSs and parasitoid releases, the IPM program expanded, bringing DBM under natural control in most of the Cordillera Highlands. High residue levels alarm domestic consumers and pose problems for export of cabbage to foreign markets, causing the market for Cameron cabbages to collapse. Assertive action by the Malaysian authorities to promote reduction of insecticides, replacement by biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) for control of DBM and farm-gate residue level checks. However, no FFS or other farmer participatory methods carried out to train farmers. Even after the parasitoids D. semiclausum and Diadromus collaris have been established for almost 20 years, their impact on DBM was limited, primarily because farmers did not understand the role/importance of the parasitoids and continued to apply insecticides frequently. Together with the indigenous Cotesia plutellae, they failed to provide effective control of DBM. Heavy sprayings prevented the parasitoids from exerting their full potentials and DBM populations have become resistant to Bt due to increased selection for resistance to pesticides. DBM has continued to be a
The case of DBM in the Cameron Highlands • • • •
serious problem today. • Nevertheless, in small pockets of organic farms where no insecticides were used, the parasitoids were abundant and DBM never posed a problem. Contrasting outcomes in above case studies showed that biological control is important and can provide good control of DBM. Empowering farmers through self-discovery learning methods (in FFS) to make farmers aware, understand, and conserve natural enemies is crucially important to harness the full potentials of biological control for successful and sustainable IPM implementation.
Conclusions • •
Lim and Ooi (2002) summarise the comparison as follows: “The variant results in the two areas provide important lessons with respect to biological control, IPM and FFS. Firstly, the cases illustrate how critically important natural enemies are in insect IPM, especially when farmers learn about them through field schools and can apply proper conservation practices. Next, FFSs are crucial to help farmers harness the biological control agents efficiently (when they are present) to achieve effective IPM implementation. Finally, since FFS empowers farmers to understand the role of biological control agents by being actively involved, it is especially helpful in ensuring the rapid spread and area-wide establishment of exotic parasitoids after their introductions.” Similarly, the successful introductions of Diadegma semiclausum in the intensified crucifer production systems in the highlands around Dalat in Lamdong District in southern Vietnam can largely be explained by the coinciding training of crucifer growers through IPM FFSs and subsequent establishment of biocontrol study clubs to effectively manage the parasitoid introductions area-wide. The parasitoids, first re-introduced in Dalat in 1997, have now become well established among farmers who practice IPM. There is no need for further introductions and the key to Lamdong District-wide DBM control now appears to be the need for District-wide IPM FFS training. 3.3 Case Study 3: Productive Partnerships, Involving IPM Expert Farmers, to Develop Integrated Disease Management in Lao PDR and Vietnam
Productive partnerships between IPM Expert farmers, trainers, researchers and private sector industries have been crucial for the continued development, application and sustainable establishment of vegetable IPM. As farmers become more knowledgeable and confident following IPM training, they can be expected to take a greater role in knowledge creation and disseminating this knowledge to other farmers. They can be expected to enter into partnerships with researchers in defining and solving problems, and adapting these to local conditions. There now exists a growing body of experience in the field of collaborative research partnerships among farmers, extension workers and farmers. Some of these experiences, involving the FAO IPM movement, are well documented. The case study of participatory research on rice blast management in Vietnam provides a good example of how farmers, IPM trainers and researchers work together to make rice production a lot more productive and how IPM farmers share this new knowledge with other farming communities (Nelson et al., 2001). Increasingly, and especially relevant for vegetable IPM, farmers will need to source appropriate knowledge generated by other IPM farmers – and this is one role that extension workers presumably could help facilitate. IPM farmers will increasingly adopt and adapt knowledge from the outputs of science- and industry-driven research. Examples of the latter would be the introduction of classical bio-control agents for exotic pests (see Case Study 2 above) and diseases, improved crop varieties (see Box 4 below), or even the production of genetically engineered crops. At least farmers will be able to judge the merits of these new technologies and decide for themselves if and how to use them. Particularly in Asian vegetable production, there is good potential for a fourth key group assuming their role in such collaborative efforts of knowledge creation. The private sector is expected to play an important role in providing necessary inputs to ensure innovative, profitable and sustainable farming systems for small-scale farmers in Asia. Examples of the potential of such a more inclusive research and development partnership, involving vegetable IPM Expert farmers, IPM trainers, researchers and the private sector providers of production inputs, is given in Box 4 below.
Box 4: Vegetable IPM Research and Development Partnerships for better Bacterial Wilt Management (Whitten & Ketelaar, 2002) Bacterial Wilt (Ralstonia solanaceum) is a major production constraint in tropical Asian vegetable production, especially during the wet season. Most Solanaceae crops are affected by the disease, e.g. tomato, eggplant and chili. In Lao PDR, farmers are keen to produce tomatoes during the off-season (up to 10 times higher market prices compared to in-season production!), however, management of Bacterial Wilt (BW) then becomes crucially important. There are no easy “silver bullet” solutions to manage BW. An integrated disease management approach is needed. Prevention, rather than control, obviously is the key to better BW management. However, good crop husbandry combined with planting more BW tolerant varieties can provide adequate BW management. During the 2000 and 2001 wet seasons, IPM farmer groups initiated field studies and group learning activities to explore BW ecology and to develop a locally suitable and integrated approach to BW management. Field studies have focused on better crop production methods (in the spirit of “growing a healthy crop”) and on evaluating performance of reportedly more BW tolerant varieties. These varieties were made available for field testing by East West Seed Co., a Chiangmai-based seed development and production company that does quite innovative work in terms of developing better vegetable varieties that perform well under hot lowland conditions. The studies were primarily conducted by FFS alumni groups in 7 villages in Vientiane Municipality and Vientiane Province. Government IPM trainers based in the local district played a key role in facilitation and technical backstopping to these field studies. Although these multi-season action research efforts are still ongoing, major lessons learned from these field studies so far include: IPM alumni farmers are keen to explore better production and BW management methods in group learning activities as a follow up to an initial tomato FFS; • BW management needs an integrated disease prevention and management approach; there are no ‘silver bullet solutions’; e.g., pig manure can introduce bacterial wilt with undigested swill from the piggery; • BW tolerant varieties can provide some relief to farmers growing tomatoes on BW infested land; • More attention needs to be paid to prevention of survival and population build up of BW in soils; hence, soil ecology topics need to be integrated in the field study curriculum; • Farmer and trainers need to better understand the basics of doing science as to be better able to design and implement studies that can be properly evaluated by farmers themselves. Similar disease ecology and management studies are ongoing in other Asian countries, notably Vietnam, where IPM farmers, trainers, researchers and, in some cases, the private sector, are engaged in collaborative partnerships to find ways to better manage a range of soil-borne diseases (Vos, 2001). •
The problems associated with misuse and overuse of pesticides in vegetable production in South and Southeast Asia remain serious and acute. Without appropriate training in Integrated Production and Pest Management, farmers will continue to try to increase yields through higher inputs of agro-chemicals without realizing the negative consequences. The key to on-farmer sustainable establishment of vegetable IPM, as argued above, is to facilitate farmers becoming vegetable IPM experts themselves. The FAO Inter-Country Programme for Vegetable IPM in South and Southeast Asia is currently developing a second Phase (2002-7). The Programme will work to enhance the capability and capacity of Governments, NGOs and farmer groups to effectively reach out to vegetable farmers Asia-wide. The FAO Programme will continue to support applied research, extension and farmer education activities to promote and support Integrated Production and Pest Management in vegetables by Asian smallholder farmers. These activities will be carried out in close collaboration with other regional, national and local IPM-related projects funded by Governments, donor agencies and NGOs. Close functional links with appropriate and action research-oriented research institutions will be pursued as to institute sustainable arrangement for the solution of on-farmer technical
problems. The FAO Programme will also actively support the creation and strengthening of smallholder farmer groups and their associations so that they can take collective action in support ecologically-based vegetable production and marketing (FAO, 2002c). No doubt the job is daunting. We face many challenges and serious problems remain to be re-solved. Yet, arguably the best-and as of now fairly untapped and underdeveloped- resource to make vegetable IPM work, is that of the human resource. The key to development and sustainable establishment of vegetable IPM is the ability of farmers to understand local ecosystems and implications of their management interventions on such ecosystems. Reduction of chemical pesticides in vegetable production will become a reality, only if farmers become ‘ecosystem literate’ and feel confident that they can manage vegetable production with lesser inputs of chemical pesticides. Developing farmers into Vegetable IPM Experts will remain a crucially important task if vegetable IPM is to establish itself in a sustainable manner and flourish Asia-wide.
The authors are grateful to all vegetable IPM farmers, trainers, researchers, colleagues within the FAO IPM Programmes and their partner institutions, and all others, who have positively contributed to the practical development and application of vegetable IPM and from whose hard work this paper could be conceptualized. A particular vote of thanks is due to Max Whitten, the former Team Leader of the FAO Phase I Vegetable IPM Programme. Max has provided key conceptual leadership to the FAO Programme during its inception and implementation phases, enabling Vegetable IPM to become owned by farmers themselves and allowing vegetable IPM to continue to develop and flourish in many Asian countries.
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