FAO support for Integrated Pest Management in Asia

Indiscriminate use of pesticides is of high concern to many governments in Asia as it poses risks to crop production, farmers, the environment, food safety and government plans to intensify agricultural production and develop export potential.

The FAO Regional Vegetable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programme in Asia promotes sustainable intensification of agricultural production with special emphasis on pesticide risk reduction.  It has demonstrated that pesticide use often can be significantly reduced without affecting crop production. Where pesticide use remains necessary, highly hazardous pesticides can be replaced by less hazardous alternatives.  Farmers applying IPM generally increase their income and reduce the incidence of pesticide poisoning.

The Programme supports capacity building in government agencies and local NGOs to conduct farmer education and participatory research on IPM and pesticide risk reduction, primarily through the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach.  In a FFS, 25-30 farmers meet weekly facilitated by qualified extension staff and/or experienced farmers. Employing non-formal education methods, the field is used as the primary resource for discovery-based learning. Farmers acquire management skills, generate knowledge, carry out experiments, and learn how to make better informed decisions.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecological approach to crop production and protection that combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops and minimize the use of pesticides.  It is a broad concept that also includes nutrient and water management.  Besides production aspects, there is increasing attention for food safety and enhancing smallholder market access.  

The Vegetable IPM Programme has been operational since 2002 and is constantly evolving to meet developing needs from the participating governments.  Its main roles are in concept development, helping maintain quality of training, and facilitation of inter-country collaboration and coordination.  Field experiences are fed into policy development processes related to pest and pesticide management. In some countries, the Programme also assists in strengthening the regulatory framework for the control of pesticides.

Most of the participating countries now have declared IPM as the preferred approach to crop protection and are supporting capacity building at field level through National IPM-Farmers Field School programmes, increasingly with substantial national and local government funding support.  Participating national IPM programmes, which besides vegetables also cover rice and cotton, together involve over 15000 trainers and have trained over 3 Million farmers in Asia.  



Core Themes