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West African farmers achieve massive cuts in pesticide use
©FAO/Pius Ekepi
17 February 2014, Rome - Field schools in Mali that have been training farmers on alternative methods of pest control have succeeded in reducing the use of toxic pesticides by participating cotton farmers in the country. These reductions are a staggering 92 percent, according to a new FAO study published today by the London-based Royal Society. According to the study, the project has been engaging farmers to teach them how to conduct integrated pest management (IPPM) as an alternative to chemical pesticides. This approach includes introducing better predator insects, for instance; using natural bio-pesticides, or even adopting new cropping practices to ensure plants are healthy and resistant when pest attacks do occur. Cotton is the principal engine of economic development in Mali, where an estimated 4 million farmers grow the high-value crop.

William Settle is a Project Manager in FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division. In the following interview he discusses the West African Regional Integrated Production and Pest Management Programme, including the Farmer Field School project in Mali and some of the conclusions which came as a result of this programme.
3min. 08sec.
Topic(s): Agriculture & crops, Plants, Rural or agricultural development
Produced by: Sandra Ferrari
Reference: 10357