Nature`s guerrilla tactics
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a method of reducing the use of pesticides by farmers by promoting alternative pest control practices such as the use of resistant rice varieties, dependence on natural enemies to control pests (also known as biological control), better water, weed, and fertillser managernent, and better cultivation practices. Pesticides are used to control pest populations only as a last resort.
Crop rotation can be used partly for pest control because an unbroken sequence of any single crop allows large populations of associated pests to develop. Further, since most plants are susceptible to pests only during certain stages of growth, and many pests are present only for a few days or weeks in a year, modifying the planting date can reduce pest attacks. Lastly, fertilisers can sometimes help create a stand of uniform density, which can discourage pests.
The farmers are trained in farmers field schools. Typically, 25-30 farmers meet in the rice field for 5 hours once a week for the entire rice growing season and narrate their experiences.
Farmers in many countries are gradually adopting IPM and reducing the use of pesticides. In Bangladesh, after the IPM training was completed in 59 schools, the average view per ha increased to 4.8 tonne from the 3.3 tonne of yield before the IPM training. Also, farmers on an average spending 800 Taka less per ha on pesticides after undergoing IPM training. In Vietnam, although there was almost no change in yield, average cost of pesticides per ha after IFU training decreased to 125,000 Dong from 475,000 Dong. Similar changes have taken place in the Philippines.