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close this bookExtension of Complex Issues - Success Factors in Integrated Pest Management (LBL - SKAT - SDC, 1997, 102 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAbbreviations
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1 Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2 Project descriptions: Ways of extending IPM
Open this folder and view contents3 Theses: Success factors in extension for IPM
Open this folder and view contents4 Concluding remarks: Respect as the basis for successful IPM extension
View the documentReferences
View the documentAnnex I: National IPM Training Programme Indonesia
View the documentAnnex II: The IPM Project Zamorano in Nicaragua
View the documentAnnex III: IPM Development Programme
View the documentAnnex IV: IRRI: Rice IPM Network
View the documentAnnex V: TREE: Development of Neem-Based Plant Protection Practices in Thailand
View the documentExtension of complex issues

Annex IV: IRRI: Rice IPM Network

by Maja Hnn, LBL

1. Background

History: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), as one institute of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has been working in IPM research since the late 1970s. Because of a general trend and because of the FAO Intercountry Programme for the Development and Application of Integrated Pest Control in Rice in South and Southeast Asia ICP), IPM became more and more important. IRRI stated a lack of inter-country communication in IPM research. Therefore the Rice IPM Network was initiated by IRRI in 1990 as an inter-country programme in research with a three years grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is currently in its second phase of implementation. While the FAO Intercountry Programme is basically an extension programme, the Rice IPM Network was created to foster and co-ordinate IPM related research. In comparison, the budget of the Rice IPM Network is much smaller than the one of the FAO Intercountry Programme, namely less than 1%.

2. Main Project Features

Location: The Rice IPM Network activities take place in eight countries in South East Asia. The following countries participate in the group: China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The present co-ordinator and secretary of the Steering Committee, K.L. Heong, is posted at IRRI, Philippines.

Goals: The Rice IPM Network aims at promoting IPM research in national research programmes and promoting the use of analytical decision tools in analysing pest problems in order to set research, extension and policy priorities. Collaborating in the Rice IPM Network are scientists from eight National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in Asia. Collaborative research efforts are focused on three themes:

1. Improving farmers' practices,
2. Enhancing natural biological control,
3. Improving regional decisions (IRRI 1995, International Agricultural Development).

In the context of extension, particularly the first theme is of interest. It aims at identifying questionable perceptions persisting among farmers, generating new technologies and evaluating them. Research should also contribute to the transformation of farmers' needs into researchable problems. Results should finally be communicated back to the farmers.

The Rice IPM Network has been set up explicitly for research, not for extension. The link to extension should be established by the collaborating NARSs in the corresponding countries. However, the research agenda of the Rice IPM Network is determined by both, research and extension. In some cases extension plays the role of implementing the interventions and supporting research in monitoring and data analyses.

Besides, the Rice IPM Network aims at paradigm shifts among network members through participatory workshops. There new concepts in pest management are introduced to researchers and plant protection officers, away from a "fire brigade" conception to a problem-oriented approach. A diagnostic framework is used to facilitate participating scientists to adopt the new approach, namely "to obtain information from farmers before deciding what to do" (IRRI 1995a:11).

Activities of Phase I and II in an overview:

· Phase I (1990-93): Building of common understanding, a shared purpose, three themes for collaborative research, improve linkages between research and extension within countries, better linkages between countries and with IRRI, better farmer-orientation of research through diagnostic workshops.

· Phase II (1994-96): Research within jointly selected priority areas (three themes) initiated, interactions between countries started (mutual visits), Steering Committee and three theme leaders selected and made operational.

In late 1995 a review panel has proposed to extend the project to a third phase of three years duration (IRRI 1995a).

Different workshops meetings and campaigns:

The Rice IPM Network offers a series of workshops, meetings etc. to its members.

Training Workshops: There are two types of training workshops with the following intentions:

· to be familiar with the diagnostic frameworks, practising and applying them

· to be familiar with special techniques, e.g. ecological methods, farm data analyses.

Planning Workshops: They serve as venue for exchange between country teams of the Rice IPM Network and other (IRRI) network members.

Diagnostic Workshops: These workshops are designed as venue for discussions of various experts, researchers, extension personnel and policy makers involved in pest management. Questions and issues raised in the workshop provide the basis of Rice IPM Network research.

Study visits: Rice IPM Network members and other invited IPM specialists observe and discuss IPM-related activities in the eight countries.

Research activities:

Rice IPM Network encourages country teams to conduct research based on needs identified at the diagnostic workshops. Subsequently on-farm surveys are conducted in each country. Some of these surveys led to research projects. The methodology applied is called Farmer Participatory Research (FPR). For example on the Philippines and in Vietnam Farmer Participatory Research is used to gain insight into an approach to improve farmers' pest management decision-taking. In a sort of a large scale experiment the impact of a "40 days no spray campaign against leaffolder in rice" is investigated there. The stimulus for farmers to participate in the experiment is the fact that IPM means less pesticides, which can mean more money. As long as such interventions are research projects, the Rice IPM Network supports them (e.g. monitoring, data gathering, analysis and reporting activities).

Communication research campaigns:

Through the Rice IPM Network posters were produced which are placed in markets, extension offices and stores in the villages. Leaflets were delivered directly to farmers, dramas were broadcast on national and provincial radio stations and over public address systems, billboards were installed in markets and at road junctions. Eventually farmers were invited to set up demonstration farms (IRRI Reporter, 1995:6). The purpose of this activity was to evaluate the impact of media in IPM and the mechanisms of communication. Studies are still going on investigating farmer-to-farmer communication systems, message loss issues, etc. (Heong, personal communication, 1996).

Main output of the project so far:

· Recognition of the farmer as the major decision maker in pest management. Research results have substantiated the importance of the human dimension in IPM.

· As a consequence of their membership in the network, all participating institutions have allocated more staff time and resources for research on IPM-relevant subjects.

· 51 research projects have been launched in the first four years.

· 25 papers have been published from these research projects.

· Pamphlets, posters, radio-dramas and workshop reports (particularly in Vietnam) have been developed.

· Numerous news reports for the general public have been prepared.

Target audience:

There prevails a certain confusion concerning the target audience of the Rice IPM Network. While some actors argue that researchers (as well as extensionists and policy makers) are the primary target audience, other are of the opinion that the farmers are the real target audience.

The following statements may illustrate the two contradicting views:

"... the impression that farmers are the main target of Rice IPM Network research activities leads to confusion and problems of delineation of responsibilities. Since the Rice IPM Network is a research network, farmers should not be considered as the main target audience... While policy-makers are the main target for theme three, researchers and extensionists are the main targets for themes 1 and 2" (IRRI 1995a:28). "There seems to be confusion about whether activity's audience or research's audience is the target audience of the Rice IPM Network. The reviewer unfortunately had taken the former, which is the root cause of the problem. Doing experiments with farmers is not extension, although some "lab-bound" scientists would argue otherwise" (Heong, personal communication 1996).

3. Institutional Set-up


The Rice IPM Network is composed of country teams (NARS) and managed by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is composed of three thematic working group leaders, five additional invited members from IRRI and NARS and the Rice IPM Network Co-ordinator. A member of the committee is elected as chairman. The chairman of the IRRI TAC (= Technical Advisory Committee) is invited as additional member. The Steering Committee co-ordinates, monitors, facilitates the Rice IPM Network activities, defines projects of common interests etc.

The following mechanisms are important:

· the role of the co-ordinator as main focal point for both IRRI research and for the NARS;
· workshops related to the research themes;
· Steering Committee meetings;
· theme leader and resource person meetings, suggested for Phase III.

Linkages to other programmes and organisations:

IRRI: Rice IPM Network is part of IRRI's Research Programme. It is a complementary project within the IRRI's Irrigated Rice Research Programme. Within the Cross Ecosystems Research Programme at IRRI is a project (Exploiting Bio-diversity for Sustainable Pest Management) addressing more basic issues in pest management.

NARS: Scientists and extension specialists in NARS participate in collaborative network activities. FAO Intercountry Programme (ICP): The co-operation between the two networks is a formulated goal since Phase I. Several times responsible members of the ICP have participated in activities of Rice IPM Network in Phase II. Actually the Rice IPM Network and ICP are collaborating in two activities:

· Farmer participatory cultivar selection for blast management.

· Weed ecology working group.

· It is likely that these two activities will continue in Phase III plus perhaps an activity on farmer participatory fertiliser management in relation to sheath blight and stemborer control.


SDC supports the Rice IPM Network with $ 970'000 for Phase II (1994 -1996) for travels, salaries, workshops and especially for support of national research as supplement to NARS research on the three thematic areas (as mentioned above). Besides SDC's funding, national systems contribute matching funds. IRRI also contributes scientists' time (e.g. the salary of the co-ordinator and secretary).

4. Policy Level

The members of the Steering Committee are "mainly high level administrators who are expected to give firm anchorage of Rice IPM Network in the respective national administrations" (IRRI 1995a:24).

5. Research

"The Rice IPM Network is a research network. Even the research-extension-farmer linkage and the process by which the linkage takes place is a researchable issue and should really be researched" (IRRI 1995a:17). Its main concern is the collaboration of all possible research institutions of the member countries. IRRI has a co-ordinating and leading function. At the same time NARS should get more independence.

6. Logistical Base

As mentioned before, the Rice IPM Network has quite a small budget. Therefore there is no possibility to provide compensation and incentives to farmers in FPR. At the same time there is no need for incentives to participate, as the incentive for farmers to participate for example in the "40 days no spray campaign" consists of savings in insecticide cost and labour.

7. Extension

Rice IPM Network has no extension programme itself as it concentrates on research. Several national Rice IPM Network Projects evaluate the use of communication media and do short term FPR projects. Rice IPM Network organises also workshops, where people from research and extension are participating.

However, closer co-operation with FAO Intercountry Programme is planned. In the IRRI 1995a the Rice IPM Network formulates the need for co-operation as follows:

"Rice IPM Network and FAO/ICP need each other...Continuing research on biological and socio-economic problems is necessary to keep the substance and relevance of the FFS curriculum from hitting a plateau. In reverse, FFS through farmer participants can be fertile sources of research agenda items... In several instances, after FPR, farmers attend FFS to learn more" (IRRI 1995a:19).

8. Clients

The term "clients" stands for farmers who interact with extensionists. As this is not the case in the present project (compare the paragraph on "target audience") this theme is not further discussed here.

9. Main Positive Experience (Strengths)

· IPM research is much better integrated in most NARS programmes than before.

· Collaboration between NARS and IRRI IPM programmes works.

· Paradigm shifts among researchers, one of the objectives of the IRRI Rice IPM Network, are difficult to evaluate, because they occur internally. However, observable items in the collaborators' research thinking are:

- Biological scientists now think about farmers' pest management practices the "people dimension".

- Natural biological control is becoming an important research issue.

- Researchers now begin to consider non-rice habitats as refuges for natural biological control agents.

10. Main Negative Experiences (Weaknesses)

Still most of the Rice IPM Network members and workshop participants are coming from within plant protection organisations. For this reason research in pest management is too narrowly focused. There is need to broaden perspectives to include participation of other disciplines, such as social sciences, management sciences and psychology (Heong, personal communication, 1996).

11. Temporary Conclusions

The Rice IPM Network mainly focuses on research issues in pest management. Although farmers views and needs move into the focus of the researchers, the former remain basically informants of a pre-planning phase (diagnostic framework) of research. In most cases they have little influence on decision making regarding research issues and they remain side actors in the actual research work. This underlying attitude finds is expression not only in the semantics used in various reports (farmers are "target groups", extension is a "channel to reach them" etc.). It is also reflected in the goal to produce "simple messages" out of complex research results for the farmers who would not understand otherwise.

12. Documents analysed and contacts

Heong K.L, Escalada M.M., Vo Mai, 1994; An analysis of insecticide use in rice: Case studies in the Philippines and Vietnam. In: International Journal of Pest Management, 40(2), 173-178.

IRRI, 1993: Rice IPM Network. Phase I, Final Report. July 1990 - June 1993. Manila.

IRRI, 1993: A Project Proposal on Rice IPM Research Network - Phase II.

IRRI, 1995a: Report of the Rice IPM Network Review Panel. September 1995.

IRRI, 1995: Diagnostic Workshops Summary Reports. Manila.

IRRI, 1995: Rice IPM in review. Project Summaries and Publications. Manila.

IRRI, 1995: Rice IPM in review. News Reports and Communication Materials. Manila.

IRRI Reporter, 1995: Campaign encourages farmers in Vietnam to experiment with IPM. 3/95: 6-7.

IRRI, 1995: The bottom line for farmers. Small rice farmers in Vietnam are experimenting before adopting a technology. And for them, seeing is believing. In: International Agricultural Development, Sept/Oct. 1995.

Several contacts with K.L. Heong (letter, e-mails and a discussion at IRRI during 1996).