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Farmers in Moldova learn techniques for reducing pesticide use

Steadily increasing pesticide use has provoked pest control crises and harmed both human health and the environment all over the world – and Moldova is no exception. Now, FAO is introducing a kinder, gentler approach to plant pests in Moldova – an internationally accepted approach known as “Integrated Pest Management.”

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is based on analysis of the ecology of a given agricultural ecosystem and the beneficial action of natural parasites, pathogens, and predators for managing pests. The strategy is to tolerate pest populations that are below specified threshold levels, and to manage rather than totally control or eliminate them.

“One of the advantages of Integrated Pest Management is that it can be used at any level of agricultural development,” said Zsuzsanna Hajdu, FAO junior technical officer for plant production and protection responsible for the project.

A recent two-day workshop trained a cohort of 19 individuals in the principles and practice of IPM. These trained facilitators will soon lead Farmer Field Schools to teach the approach to farmers across the country. Also participating were plant protection experts from the National Food Safety Agency and from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

The facilitators also learned about FAO’s approach and methodology to Farmer Field Schools, with real examples from Central European countries provided by international experts. One expert from Hungary shared her experiences organizing Farmer Field School events, practicing facilitation techniques, and dealing with problems that can arise in a field school setting.

The facilitator trainees also developed curricula for apple orchards, greenhouse tomatoes, and open- field potatoes which they will use in farmer field schools in Moldova.

The work falls under a two-year FAO project aimed at making Integrated Pest Management a mainstream approach for Moldovan agriculture.

10 December 2015, Chisinau, Moldova

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