FARMER EDUCATION

FAO and associated National IPM Programmes have implemented farmer training programmes for IPM in rice and vegetables in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) during the last decade. This training has already resulted into tangible benefits for farmers, most notably reductions of costly pesticides and shifts to qualitatively better and less hazardous chemicals, typically without yield penalties. However, pesticide abuse and overuse is still rampant in the GMS. Intensive use of extremely and highly hazardous chemicals by small-holder farmers is still causing high incidence of farmer poisoning. Given the renewed attention and current prominent driving forces for pesticide risk reduction related to food safety, international trade facilitation and enduring environmental and health concerns, the need for strong Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) farmer training programmes is greater than ever. It was for this reason that the Swedish-supported Pesticide Risk Reduction Programme (GCP/RAS/229/SWE) was formulated with the overall development objective to reduce the use of hazardous and persistent agro-chemicals through IPM Farmer Training in conjunction with better access/utilization of alternative pest management options.