New tools and training could revolutionize pesticide management in West Africa
Studies reveal extent of risks from pesticides in the region, show that field schools can dramatically cut their use
17 February 2014, Rome - Field schools that train farmers in alternative methods of pest control have succeeded in nearly eliminating the use of toxic pesticides by a community of cotton growers in Mali, according to a new FAO study published today by the London-based Royal Society.
The study was conducted in two areas - the Bla region of southern Mali, where FAO established a field school program in 2003, and a second area, Bougouni, where the program was not yet active.
While only 34 percent of all cotton-farmers in the area participated in the program, pesticide use on all of Bla's cotton farms - more than 4,300 households - dropped a staggering 92 percent. FAO's study further found that the move away from pesticide use had no negative impact on yields.