Crop Protection Strategies for Subsistence Farmers

Crop Protection Strategies for Subsistence Farmers

Crop Protection Strategies for Subsistence Farmers

Crop Protection Strategies for Subsistence Farmers

Synopsis

"Top-down approaches to pest management, relying on agrochemical inputs that can be scarce, expensive, ecologically toxic, or inaccessible, have repeatedly failed to solve pest problems that affect small farmers in developing countries. Crop Protection Strategies for Subsistence Farmers offers an alternative. Drawing on examples from Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, this volume describes strategies that rely on farmers' knowledge and participation, local resources, and alternative low-input methods as a sensitive approach to developing and implementing pest management schemes adjusted to farmers' needs and their socioeconomic and agroecological conditions. The chapters explore knowledge systems that farmers apply to pest problems, describe traditional pest management techniques, and discuss farmers' perceptions about pests. In addition, several contributors describe methodologies on how to diagnose pest problems quickly and to design simple but effective pest control methods that rely on biological as well as cultural management techniques. An analysis of the cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental advantages of alternative methods is provided. Some of the difficulties and challenges encountered by researchers in the development of bottom-up IPM strategies are also presented." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

It is estimated that there are about 500 million small farmers throughout the developing world. in a constant struggle to survive, resource-poor farmers have developed diverse and complex cropping systems and management technologies that, in most instances, are well adapted to the rain- fed and risk-prone environments in which they exist.

Promotion of chemical inputs, new agroexport and market pressures, and new government policies are creating rapid changes in the economic, environmental, and cultural context of small-scale agriculture. Thus, small farmers face new challenges, many of them of an unprecedented nature.

Conventional scientific research and extension programs have emphasized high-input approaches geared to modernizing small farm agriculture and, often, technological packages developed at experiment stations or transferred from industrialized countries that do not fit the conditions or needs of these farmers. in many cases, when adopted, these technologies cause environmental problems.

The field of integrated pest management has also been affected by these problems. in recent years the acute environmental and social costs associated with high-input crop protection technology have become increasingly obvious. Researchers and development specialists are desperately seeking new approaches to crop production and protection that will help alleviate rural poverty and halt environmental degradation. the articles in this book document a few efforts toward sustainable development for small farmers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is interesting to note that most of these efforts, although conducted in very different socioeconomic as well as environmental milieus, emphasize farmers' participation, on-farm research, biological control techniques, and maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity at the farm level. These aspects seem to be crucial for the development of sustainable agriculture and rural development in the Third World.

Miguel A. Altieri . . .

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