Sustainable Intensification and Pesticide Risk Reduction Programme in West Africa


The Crop Production and Protection division of FAO is adding to the growing legacy of Farmer Field School (FFS) programmes around the world with the Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM) programme in West Africa. The programme is targeting 130,000 farming families in Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Cropping systems include rice, vegetables, cotton, mangos and sesame. Expected outcomes include major reductions in chemical pesticide use, improved agronomic skills, on-farm crop diversification, human disease vector management, improved marketing and business skills of farmers and their organisations for sustainable and healthy agricultural produce, and policy national and regional reforms.

The largest programme contributor is the Netherlands $9.5 million IPPM project, now in its second year. In July 2008 this will be joined by a $4.5 million GEF/UNEP project introducing a state-of-the-art pesticide monitoring component led by a team from Oregon State University and the CERES Locustox laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. Other contributors include the EU, Sweden and Norway.

Capacity will be built for employing new pesticide monitoring technology, including models for fate of measured pollutants moving through aquatic systems from local to transnational scales. Detailed analyses at the community level will estimate human health risks due to agricultural pesticides.

Pilot tests in three villages along the
Senegal River found 19 pesticides in the river’s water, at levels which, in 90% of the samples, were tens-to-hundreds of times above the Maximum Residue Limits of pesticides considered acceptable for safety of humans and the environment. As part of its comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system, the programme will establish an accurate and comprehensive picture of contaminant levels in dozens of communities along the Senegal and Niger river systems, prior to and after establishment of the FFS. In this manner it will accurately measure the impact of farmer training on productivity and profitability, but also on lowering risks from pesticides to human health and the environment.