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The Trap of Pesticide Use: A Case Study of Rice Farmers in Java

Dr Yunita Triwardani Winarto, Emeritus Professor in anthropology at Universitas Indonesia, will draw on the findings of a longitudinal study of pesticide use by rice farmers in two villages in major rice-producing areas, one in West Java and the other in Central Java, in our next ASEAN FAW Action farmer communication workshop.

The study, "The Tsunami of Pesticide Use for Rice Production on Java and Its Consequences," highlights a number of key points to consider in the development of IPM programmes, including the need for clear communication; and, the importance of understanding what drives farmer behaviour and decision-making around pesticide use. The study, for example, talks about how: wrestle in explaining their actions in their use of pesticides. They operate in a world of mixed messages, contrary information and multiple conflicting opinions. The situation is one of shared uncertainty.

The study also found that many farmers are also drawn to the use of "pesticide-cocktails", which they believe will maximise the strength and effectiveness of their pest management.

In the Indramayu village, the 100 sampled farmers came up with 161 cocktail varieties; nearly 60 per cent of farmers used cocktails consisting of three to five different ingredients.

The research authors also point out that the primary locus for information about pesticides is the local ‘kiosk’, with several located in every village. It is these information points, therefore, that can also offer opportunities for better education around pesticides purchase and use.

Interestingly, the research indicated a lower usage of pesticides in the village which had adopted a form of bioengineering by the planting of an annual (Cosmos caudatus) intended to attract natural predators of the brown planthopper - a strategy that offered the possibility of a cost-effect means of pest control.

In Tuesday's workshop, Dr Winarto will also discuss the beneficial impacts of agrometeorological learning for farmers, in response to climate change, in changing farmers' decision-making and behaviour.

Workshop 3: Pesticide Behaviour, Decision-making & Communication

September 7 | 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM SGT (GMT +8)


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