Unavailability of safe and low-cost pest management inputs is compelling farmers to spray harmful and costly pesticides, hampering the efforts of the scientists to control pests in a natural and organic manner.
Thnak you very much for the invitation. I find the topic of low-cost pest management a very interesting one. Highly marketed chemical compounds frequently make more trouble for farmers than they solve, even when the farmers can easily afford them. There are many alternatives, but I believe that the best solutions require detailed knowledge of seasonal ecological patterns in the region where the farmers grow their crops, what type of crops they are trying to sustain, how large a farm plot they have, and how the cultural and political forces they must deal with influence their farming decisions. Here in the US, there is a great deal of pandemonium concerning organically grown almonds. Several years ago, there was a bacterial infection associated with organically grown almonds, but it was because particular farms' practices allowed the almonds to fall onto the ground and mix with the organic fertilizer (fecal matter, etc.), then be heated, along with other such ill-informed practices. Now the federal government is saying that raw almonds are dangerous, and that they must all be chemically treated before going onto the market. So not only are the ecology, pest control methods, and organic farming methods important, but the politiical relationships that the farmers have with those who eat the food are also important for the sustainability of any approach to safe and healthy farming. To learn more about the almond case in the US, see this article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/23/BUE8RN9...
Thank you for starting this discussion, and again for inviting me to be your network friend.
I recently found out about a successful initiative by the International Rice Research Institute. They used a radio soap opera with agricultural storylines to inform millions of farmers in Vietnam about using pesticides safely and managing fertiliser and pesticide use. You can read more about it here: http://www.cgiar.org/newsroom/releases/news.asp?idnews=645