How do stakeholder interactions in Cambodian rice farming villages contribute to a pesticide lock-in?

Rica Joy Flor*, Harro Maat, Buyung Asmara Ratna Hadi, Rathmuny Then, Emily Kraus, Kry Chhay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the conditions and mechanisms that sustain pesticide use by Cambodian rice farmers and constrain a transition to more sustainable pest control practices. We analyzed data from a survey of individual farmers (N = 320), focus group discussions with farmer groups, and interviews with input sellers, rat hunters and local extension agents.

Our findings show that farmers mix different types (e.g. herbicides and insecticides) and brands of pesticides in one application. Other chemicals, in particular ‘growth activators’ are often added to these mixes. The interaction patterns and financial arrangements among farmers, pesticide sellers, and laborers promote or sustain these practices. Increasing returns to information and recursive social interaction at the community level thus create a lock-in situation for pesticide use.

These findings have direct implications on targeting interventions, which are often aimed at providing knowledge to government extension agents and farmers. Our results suggest that farmers’ knowledge on pest management is not the only driver for their decisions and practices. A broader scope of intervention in communication and feedback loops between stakeholders directly interacting with farmers can help to diversify the suite of recommendations while providing a balance in the information that reaches farmers. Changes in these social arrangements and informal rules may be required to affect positive changes in rice pest management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104799
JournalCrop Protection
Early online date25 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Adoption
  • Information sources
  • Integrated pest management
  • Interaction patterns
  • Rice


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