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CHAPTER 1 - CROP PROTECTION IN THE CONTEXT OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT


1.1 The Global Crop Protection Situation

Pests are frequently mentioned as a major constraint to increased food production and higher agricultural productivity. On a global level pest were reported to take a significant part of the harvest. A comprehensive study by Oerke et al. (1994; 1999) analysing a huge volume of field trial data found that crop losses range from 25 to over 50% depending on the crop (Figure 1). While the productivity impacts of such high crop losses are significant, it is disturbing that over the past three to four decades, crop losses in all major crops have increased in relative terms. These data are widely cited also in CGIAR documents. For example, an IFPRI report on “Pest Management and Food Production” (Yudelman et al. 1998) reproduced these data and underlined the seriousness of pests as a major constraint to increase food production.

Figure 1: Development of crop losses in world crops from 1960 to 1990 in per cent

Source: based on Oerke et al. 1994.

To complement the analysis a closer look at the corresponding results for rice emphasises the serious implications of this situation. The amount of yield that is lost to pests, among which weeds are the major one, is more than the amount that can be saved by using pesticides. Figure 2 would suggest that on average overall effectiveness of pest control is only 33% and is lowest for insect pests.

Figure 2: Crop loss estimates in rice

Source: Oerke et al. 1994.

Interestingly, the increase in crop loss is accompanied by a growth in the rate of pesticides use (Figure 3). The average rate of increase in pesticide consumption world-wide during the period of 1993 to 1998 was in the order of 5% per year exceeding the earlier period, 1983 to 1993. In Latin America and Africa the growth rate of pesticides was above world average and came close to 6% per year (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Growth of world pesticide consumption, 1983-98

Source: after Wood et al. 2000.

Another interesting observation was again provided by Oerke et al. (1994) and shown in Figure 4. The study compared the expenditures for fertiliser and those of pesticides and found that in selected developing and developed countries, pesticide expenditures increased faster than those for fertiliser.

While such a comparison leaves room for various kinds of interpretations it could be an indicator of a growing dependence on chemical pesticides, called the 'pesticide treadmill' by entomologists (e.g. van den Bosch 1976). After all, the increase in pesticides is hardly attributable to price effects, because output prices declined while pesticide prices generally did not. Also, the moderate rates in yield increase in the major world crops during recent years do not offer a strong case for such a high increase in pesticide use. This will still hold even when one takes into account the fair amount of change in the cropping systems of developing countries with an expansion of the fruits and vegetable sector. Despite of its relative strong increase these two groups of “pesticide-intensive” crops still only represent only around 10% of the total crop area (FAO 2000).

Figure 4: Pesticide expenditures relative to those of fertilizers

Source: Oerke et al. 1994.

Hence, as pointed out elsewhere (Yudelman et al. 1998; CGIAR 2000), in pest management, agricultural development is confronted with a paradox: “crop losses increase in relative terms alongside with the use of pesticides”. If it is true, for example, that during the 1990s approximately 55% of rice yields were lost to pests (see Figure 2) despite the overall increased use of pesticides, then one wonders how effective such control has been. If, on the other hand, the existing published data are flawed, then it would be highly relevant and timely to determine the correct values for losses due to pests.

Five million tonnes of pesticide are applied annually in agriculture world-wide and there is ample evidence that pesticide use often aggravated rather than resolved pest problems in many crops, e.g. increased whiteflies in many crops, bollworms in cotton and plant hoppers in rice, etc. All of these have been due to the disruption and destruction of natural enemies inducing pest resurgence, secondary pest outbreaks that often become more important than the original target pest(s) and pesticide resistance (van den Bosch 1978). As recent examples we cite both developing and developed economies. In India, outbreaks of pests include citrus black fly Aleurocanthus woglumi Ashby, cotton whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), sugarcane Pyrilla perpusilla (Walker) and cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Singh 1999). Some of the pests such as rice leaf folder Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Guenee), green leafhopper Nephotettix spp., white blacked plant hopper Sogatella furcifera (Horvath) in rice ecosystem and old world boll worm Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) in cotton once had little economic importance but have now have become serious pests were pesticides are used indiscriminately. Such use of pesticides has resulted in development of resistance to many pesticides in H. armigera, Nilaparvata lugens (Stal.), Plutella xylostella (Linn.), Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess), etc.

In cotton in the Imperial Valley of California cotton, pesticide use for control of pink bollworm (Pectinophora gosypiella Saunders) resulted in secondary pest outbreaks of bollworms (H. zea), budworms (H. virescens (F)) and whiteflies with the development of pesticide resistance in budworm leading to the collapse of the industry (Figure 5, Imperial County yield records). Induced pest levels caused declines in cotton yields and lint quality. Only the implementation of IPM strategies based on short season cotton in 1989 for pink bollworm control restored yields to prior levels and lint quality doubled - all with scant pesticide use. However, in 1999 transgenic Bt cotton was introduced adding considerable latent complexity to the system. Resistance to the Bt toxin is an acute problem and several target pests have different levels of tolerance or resistance and in addition the most important predators were adversely affected by feeding on Bt toxin laden prey. Results of system analysis of this problem incorporating the complexity of the ecological relationships and the genetics of resistance build up in pink bollworm, bollworm and defoliators such as S. exigua suggests that the technology was introduced without first demonstrating need for it (Gutierrez and Ponsard, submitted, Gutierrez et al. in prep.). In the South-eastern USA, variable control of H. zea and defoliators such as S. fugiperda, S. exigua, soybean looper (Psuedoplusia includens (Walker)) is being experience in Bt cotton (Luttrell et al. 1999) and increasingly insecticides are being used to control H. zea, especially after flowering (Mahaffey et al. 1995) and when insecticide disruption of natural enemies has occurred (Lambert et al. 1996; Turnipseed and Sullivan 1999).

Figure 5: Acres and yields of cotton in the Imperial County, California 1976-2000

Source: Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Reports 1976-2000.

These examples are merely hints of the complexity of such pest problems world-wide that will only be exacerbated as intensification of agriculture occurs in developing areas in the absence of sound policies for IPM.

The implications of this situation with regards to pests and pest control are well recognised by CGIAR researchers (Wood et al. 2000): “If such [crop loss] estimates are even broadly correct, the negative impacts of reduced pest control effectiveness on farmer income and consumer prices would be extremely significant”. Questions of these kinds have been answered by economists looking at pesticide use reduction scenarios in the US and in Europe. They used models that relied on expert judgements on crop loss to model the elasticity of supply in the context of Computable General Equilibrium models (e.g. Knutson et al. 1990; Schmitz und Hartmann 1993; Schmitz und Brockmeier 2001; Fransen et al. 2001) and a Trade and Environment Policy Simulation (TEPSIM) model (e.g. Hartmann 1993). In principle, these studies support the hypothesis of Wood et al. (2000) that a crop loss of 30 to 50% would have dramatic effects on outputs and prices.

In conclusion, the global situation on pest problems and the relative effectiveness of the methods used to control them strongly suggests that unilateral control strategies such as chemical pesticides are unlikely to provide sustainable solutions to pest problems. Such observations also provide a warning to those who put much hope on single biotechnology approaches. Therefore, the global situation with pests and the methods used to control them as evidenced in the literature as well as through casual observations in farmers' fields around the world, underlines the need to develop and implement IPM on the broadest possible level.

1.2 The Institutional Environment

A comprehensive overview of the global crop protection situation and of IPM needs to take into account the institutional environment that more often than not pre-condition pest problems and the choice of control methods. Therefore, to a large extent, these define the issues SP-IPM needs to deal with if it is to make a significant contribution to the solution of global crop protection problems.

Taking the standpoint of the CGIAR, we define institutional environment as “the rules, procedures and policies of those organizations that directly or indirectly influence the work of CGIAR Centres in the field of IPM”. This includes all major development organizations that make decisions that indirectly affect the choice of pest control methods and the status of pests on a global level. Naturally, these are many but a few major ones need to be mentioned, e.g. the World Bank, the FAO, important bilateral donors such as USAID and DFID but also NGOs such as CARE and of course the chemical industry.

In a previous review of IPM in the CGIAR Centres, the opinion of these clients and partners of the CGIAR as regards the Centres' IPM efforts has been compiled through a questionnaire and extensive telephone interviews (CGIAR 2000). It was found that representatives of these organizations vary greatly in their assessments and expectations but generally, it can be said that the need for a co-ordinated and integrated approach to global pest problems was highly acknowledged. Therefore, it is useful to look briefly at some of the “major actors” and examine existing evidence as regards those IPM-related activities which we believe are of global relevance. At the risk of being accused of a selectivity bias, we include the FAO, the Chemical Industry and the World Bank, in the analysis of institutional environment relevant to global IPM.

The Global IPM Facility (GIPMF): The Global IPM Facility at FAO is multi-donor institution with the co-sponsorship of FAO, The World Bank, UNDP and UNEP. GIPMF has emerged out IPM field projects in Asia. Central to its approach to IPM implementation in pilot projects is to promote a farmer-centred method for the management of pests, called Farmer Field School (FFS). This model has become widely adopted by development projects not only in Asia but also increasingly in Latin America and Africa. FFS relies on a season-long experiential field training approach. This has implications for its costs relative to less intensive extension methods. Therefore, the approach has been questioned in the extension literature (Quizon et al. 2001). In fact, during the course of the review the Manager of Rural Development Research at the World Bank stated “the use of FFS for promoting IPM has a high risk being fiscally unsustainable if applied at the national level”[6].

The question of how to reach as many farmers as possible in the shortest possible time has prompted IPM researchers to look for alternative means of getting IPM concepts to the farmers (e.g. Heong et al. 1998). Hence, while there is increasing agreement that in order to make IPM to become Farmer's Practice requires a participatory approach, much debate has been generated as regards the most cost-effective strategy for up-scaling. This has become a research question with a global dimension and therefore is of relevance for SP-IPM.

Based on the recommendations of its mid-term review (Jiggins 2001) the GIPMF in the future is urged to play a larger policy role. For example, the mid-term review recommended that GIPMF adopt as a strategic objective the assessment of a world-wide tax on pesticide companies. This, in principle, could be a question with significant weight in international agricultural research in the context of a systemwide programme on IPM.

The Chemical Industry: The chemical industry has undergone radical changes during the past decade. There had been a series of mergers among companies leaving only a few remaining who still engage in research and development. The new so-called “life science companies” have readily embraced the rhetoric of IPM as this provides them with a leverage to advertise a complementary rather than an antagonistic role in the discussion on sustainable agriculture (e.g. Vorley and Keeney 1998). An example is the industry-initiated safe pesticide use campaigns where industry has been found to make inaccurate claims concerning the impact of these efforts (Murray and Taylor 2000).

In response to tightening regulatory requirements companies try to produce formulations that avoid the toxic side-effects of the older generation of pesticides. Nevertheless, large chemical companies not only exercise influence on agricultural policy in developed and in developing countries that favours the market potential of their products, but also play a pivotal role in shaping the research and information environment (Tombs 1993). As a consequence, the regard given to alternatives to “commercial solutions” to pest problems diminishes. Those groups who benefit from chemical pesticides (or lately from biotechnology) products in pest control tend to monopolise information, influence research and extension and thus generate a disincentive for the development of more localised non-chemical/non-GMO solutions.

However, it is important to point out that it is not only the big multinationals that are important players in pesticide policy but also the many new companies in developing countries who produce generics (Oudejans 1999). The producers of generics, have become an additional driving force in influencing agricultural policy in developing country because exporting pesticides becomes an argument e.g. against banning old chemical compounds. This applies in a similar way to the upcoming biotech industry, for example, in China.

Rising sales of generic pesticides, especially in countries in Africa and Latin America but also in some Asian countries, is often facilitated by weak regulatory control and the lack of an IPM oriented national policy framework. Liberalization of input markets, often labelled as successful market reform - as in the case of the pesticide market in Pakistan (World Bank 1997) - can lead to inefficient pesticide use and high external costs (Ahmad 2001).

One of the other negative economic consequences of a higher use of pesticides in developing countries is the loss of export opportunities for developing countries especially with horticultural crops as the OECD countries are tightening Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). In turn, agricultural lobbyists in industrialised nations may exploit this situation and use environmental standards as non-tariff trade barriers.

Overall, the chemical (or life science) industry in both developed and developing countries are a factor but not a force in promoting global IPM. Since their objective is to sell pesticides and/or biotechnology products, IPM serves as a vehicle for reaching a 'greener image'. This is not to say that the pesticide industry should be put on the “hit list” of IPM stakeholders. On the contrary, the private sector is an important participant in the dialogue on global pest management, but clearly, it will not be at the forefront when it comes to reducing excessive use of pesticide (or biotechnology) products. Unless private companies opt to sell, for example, “pest insurances” or entire crop management packages, IPM for them remains a non-marketable product whose rationale is to facilitate sales.

In conclusion, the latest developments in the private sector are likely to contribute to a policy environment that hampers the wide-spread adoption of IPM in developing countries. In this regard, SP-IPM, therefore, is faced with a rather sensitive but nevertheless important policy issue.

The World Bank and IPM: The World Bank is not only a major donor to the CGIAR system, it is also a major player in agricultural development with a mission to foster socio-economic development. This includes advice to developing country governments on agricultural policy matters. Hence, the Bank can play an important role in helping to create a policy environment conducive for IPM. The Bank funded a large-scale farmer training programme in Indonesia from 1993 to 1999 and produced a 1993 study “Pesticide Policies in Developing Countries: do they encourage excessive pesticide use?” The study found that an “important reason why IPM is not widely in practise in developing countries is that the current economic environment and government policies related to pesticides and to pest management in general, induce an excessive chemical pesticide use” (Farah 1993). Further World Bank documents on IPM (e.g. Schillhorn van Veen et al. 1997) highlight the importance of changing policy priorities, reversing the “pro-synthetic-chemicals” bias in crop protection and promoting a conducive environment for IPM. However, there is little current evidence to shows that IPM in the Bank is “high on the agenda” and is being implemented as part of a pro-active policy approach. For example, it is not clear what role the Bank's new Rural Development Strategy places on IPM although it does get mentioned in the strategy document[7]. Is it treated as a technical matter, or following article 14 of the AGENDA 21, as a decisive component of a strategy to sustainable natural resource management in agriculture?

On the other hand, the Bank also mentions IPM in its Operational Policy 4.09 that requires all of its agricultural projects to “reduce reliance on pesticides and promote farmer-driven, ecologically based integrated pest management”. However, outside reviewers evaluating the degree of implementation of Bank's pest management policies observed unsatisfactory performance in the implementation of the Bank's policy on IPM. For example, a review of project documents by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) found that only a few mentioned IPM (Tozun 2001). In project descriptions, the word “pesticides” was avoided and replaced by “agricultural inputs” or “agrochemicals. In Sub Saharan Africa during 1997 and 2000, the Bank approved 24 agricultural projects, but the PANNA review found that: “Many of these projects focused on increasing farmer's access to agrochemicals and nearly all sought to intensify productivity without acknowledging the potential for increasing pesticide use. Over 70% of these projects failed to mention IPM....” (Tozun 2001). Furthermore, the Mid-term review of the Global IPM Facility, an institution co-sponsored by the Bank confirmed the observation of “poor compliance of the Bank with its own pest management policy” (Jiggins 2001)[8].

Of course, one must be careful in judging projects based on “titles” and “labels”, e.g. not everything that is labelled as IPM really is. The opposite can also be true, i.e. extension projects may follow IPM principles without this being mentioned in the project documents. In fact, Bank staff[9] pointed to a number of research projects in Latin American (e.g. Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and others) that are explicitly focused on IPM, biological control or organic agriculture.

While it is not the purpose of this Panel to make judgements on the World Bank's agricultural sector policies, it is nevertheless important for a description of the SP-IPM's institutional environment to observe that evidence on the Bank's positive role in global IPM has not been well documented. In addition, organizations that also promote IPM view the Bank's role rather critically and this does not foster an enabling environment for the world-wide promotion of IPM.

In summary, the institutional environment for IPM on the global level has become more complex. Among other consequences this complexity raises are a number of policy research questions which, in addition to the agro-ecological trends mentioned in Chapter 1.1, pose a challenge to a systemwide programme on IPM.

There are at least two major questions. Firstly, the trend towards market liberalisation in the absence of specific policy frameworks has not always been supportive to IPM. For the pesticide market, liberalisation without effective regulations and adequate market-based incentives may lower the costs of supplying pesticides, but at the same time can increase the tendency for ineffective, inefficient and non-sustainable crop protection. Hence, the question of how an effective and efficient policy framework suitable to facilitate the sustainable management of pests could be designed poses a challenge for international agricultural research related to IPM.

Secondly, the question of cost-effective extension approaches to bring IPM to millions of farmers has been subject to controversial debates. These discussions were not always carried out on scientific grounds and sometimes were used as a vehicle of a controversy among different stakeholder for their different views on development. While different views for achieving development is neither new nor necessarily unproductive, there is a danger that in the case of IPM the situation can be exploited by pesticide companies that use IPM as a marketing instrument to maximise sales of their chemical pesticides and perhaps, in future, biotechnology products. Leaving such “internal conflicts” unresolved will be at the expense of farmers in developing countries and also consumers and the environment at large.

For a systemwide programme on IPM to make a significant contribution, the policy and institutional environment of global crop protection cannot be ignored.

1.3 IPM in the CGIAR

In this section a short review on the status of IPM within the CGIAR is given. This is necessary as part of the framing conditions within which SP-IPM has operated in the past, could face in the future and hence influence the impact one can expect from a systemwide programme.

In its mid-term 2000 meeting, the CGIAR adopted a new statement of its vision, goal and mission: Its vision is “a food secure world”, its goal to “reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition by sustainably increasing the productivity of resources in agriculture, forestry and fisheries” and its mission is “to achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities” (CGIAR 2001). Based on several overall reviews of the system and in accordance with discussions held by the “Change Design and Management Team” of the CGIAR, there is broad general consensus that the system need to move away from fragmented research efforts and needs to adopt a programmatic approach that facilitate focused efforts on large multi-institutional research programmes in addition to regular centre programmes. These new challenges faced by the CGIAR must be seen in the context of the recent discussion of Global Public Good (Sachs 2000; Kaul et al. 1999). While it has been argued that the CGIAR is in many ways a prime example of an International Public Goods provider, the CGIAR has not always acted in ways that suggests it is fully aware of this role. This may have occurred because its role as a public organization has forced it to respond to emerging needs and to the views of donors and advisors (Dalrymple 2001).

The total CGIAR investment in agricultural research world-wide is only between 0.4% (Anderson 1997)[10] and 3% (Pardey 2001) of all public investment in agriculture. The scarcity of agricultural research funds within the CGIAR influences the priority given to investments in IPM relative to say, investments in genetic improvement. In this regard, private sector investments in the area of crop genetic improvement increasingly play an important role. There is an incentive for the CGIAR to capitalise on such private sector efforts because the benefits are demonstrable and occur in the short-term once the improved varieties are in the field where their impact can be easily shown in yield trials. A comprehensive impact study by Evenson and Gollin (2001) has demonstrated the tremendous benefits from genetic improvement activities of the CGIAR Centres and the NARS.

This may be different for IPM. First of all, some of IPM's benefits accrue not only to farmers but also to other groups of the society. For farmers, very often the main benefit of IPM is the avoidance of uneconomical pesticide use. However, a large part of the benefits are reduction of externalities and therefore occur to other groups. This poses considerable measurement and valuation problems.[11]

Furthermore, as a research output, IPM is a “software” product unlike pesticides or seed that can be labelled as “hardware”. In theory, in addition to its positive environmental and human health effects resulting from chemical pesticide reduction, IPM practices can also help maintain the yield potential of genetically improved crops.

So far, the impact of IPM has been only demonstrated in pilot projects but not in large-scale programmes (CGIAR 2000)[12]. Although pests in a broad sense fit very well into the notion of a public bad and therefore in theory should be high on the CGIAR's agenda, it is rarely mentioned in strategy papers on food security, poverty reduction and natural resource management. A possible reason for this could be that the realisation of benefits from IPM depends on a number of conditions beyond the control of research organizations. Complicating matters further is the well-demonstrated phenomena of man-induced pests as a result of misguided previous crop interventions. This means that in some cases CGIAR technologies may have been the problem rather than the solution. For example, pesticide problems were reported in early Green Revolution technologies in rice (Maredia and Pingali 2001).

As demonstrated in earlier studies (CGIAR 2000), almost all the centres have programmes on IPM, but rarely does IPM get mentioned in CGIAR policy level documents. Hence, there appears to be an implicit “under-rating” of IPM in the CGIAR's system that ultimately must generate internal demand for a systemwide programme on IPM.

1.4 Summary of the Pre-conditions for SP-IPM

In the first part of this report an attempt was made to present the larger picture of global crop protection. This “pre-view”, although brief and incomplete, is believed necessary for a comprehensive evaluation of a programme like SP-IPM in the context of existing global challenges. An analysis of the framing conditions allows a better assessment of the results that can be expected from SP-IPM. It also provides some insight as to whether the programme's objectives formulated at the outset were realistic.

The aim of these introductory observations also was to show that in many ways IPM is different from some of the other systemwide programmes, most of all because of IPM's ubiquity in the CGIAR Centres. Because of this, a systemwide programme on IPM runs a high danger of becoming caught between “a rock and a hard-place”, i.e. on the one extreme it may simply duplicate already on-going efforts while on the other it may be overwhelmed by the sheer dimension of a global challenge.

In summary, the challenges facing SP-IPM are the following:

In the following chapter we pursue our evaluation of SP-IPM according to the TORs given us. We will then revisit the situation analysis in our conclusions presented in the last chapter.


[6] G. Feder, Manager Rural Development Research, personal communication, 21 February 2001.
[7] Email information provided by Jock Anderson, senior policy advisor, RDV, 16 November 2001.
[8] In the mid-term review report, it is stated that the World Bank has actively opened the door to pesticide companies but no further evidence was provided for this claim.
[9] Email information provided by D. Byerlee, senior research advisor, RDV, 15 October 2001.
[10] Email communication, October 2001.
[11] Paradoxically, in this regard, IPM is quite similar to modern biotechnology that is often promoted because of its potential to reduce chemical pesticides. Surprisingly, however, impacts of biotechnology are often simply assumed rather than proven.
[12] One of the exceptions is the project on biological control of the cassava mealy bug (Zeddies et al. 2001).

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