|Extension of Complex Issues - Success Factors in Integrated Pest Management (LBL - SKAT - SDC, 1997, 102 p.)|
Chinese farmers actively participate in a Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training. The present study about success factors of introducing IPM in developing countries has been ordered by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is one of the critical components of sustainable agriculture. It contributes to food security and to the conservation of natural resources. IPM is SDC's declared plant protection policy (SDC 1994, Crop Protection, Sectoral Policy Document). This policy defines IPM as a "strategy that employs every acceptable economic, ecological and toxicological technique available to keep pest populations below economic thresholds. This strategy purposely gives preference to the use of natural regulating mechanisms." SDC regards IPM as a process that enables farmers to develop solutions to their own crop protection problems and make appropriate decisions through experimental learning and their own research, supported by research and extension services.
There is hardly an agricultural development project dealing directly with farmers that does not have an extension component. SDC pursues a broad understanding of extension: "The primary goal of agricultural extension is to assist farming families in adapting their production and marketing strategies to rapidly changing social, political and economic conditions so that they can, in the long term, shape their lives according to their personal preferences and those of the community" (SDC 1995, Agricultural Extension, Sector Policy).
Thus, agricultural extension is an instrument to strengthen IPM concepts in the farming community. IPM is a complex approach and as such a challenge to agricultural extension.
It was this challenge that prompted SDC to mandate the Swiss Center for Agricultural Extension (LBL) to conduct the present study. SDC's interest was to synthesise and to document diverse experiences in extension projects promoting IPM in developing countries. It is following SDC's Crop Protection Sectoral Policy (Principle 13 accumulating and exchanging experience with IPM") and the Agricultural Extension Sector Policy (Principle 14: "Analyse and share extension experiences").
The study analysed five projects aiming at the extension of IPM. Three of the five are partly or fully funded by SDC. These three projects represent a selection of plant protection activities supported by SDC, namely a large regional extension oriented project (ICP-FAO Asia); a smaller, regional research project (IRRI Rice IPM Network) and a national extension and training project (MIP-EAP Zamorano). The example from the private sector is the NOVARTIS Farmer Support Team's Small Farmer Project on IPM in cotton in Pakistan. The NGO led project covers neem based plant protection practices in Thailand.
The present study provides an opportunity to compare SDC's policies in plant protection and extension with the reality in the field.
Head, Agricultural Division, SDC
The opinions expressed by the authors are not automatically the opinions of SDC.