Integrated pest management (IPM) has been introduced in India to reduce the serious impact of the use of highly toxic pesticides on people¿s health and the environment. However, IPM diffusion has been slow, in part because of the inherent complexity of the approach based on decisions requiring knowledge of ecological principles and local ecological dynamics. Farmer field schools (FFSs) on IPM, conducted for cotton growers in Andhra Pradesh, India, is shown to be an effective educational approach for building the essential knowledge and decision-making skills among farmers for IPM adoption. FFS farmers (73) drastically reduced the use of highly toxic pesticides as a result of increased knowledge on biological control principles. Yield levels were not affected by this reduction, showing that part of the current use of pesticides in cotton cultivation is superfluous. IPM labour demand has been suggested also as limiting IPM diffusion. However, an analysis of the physical labour use, carried out on a sub-sample (43 FFS and 52 control farms), showed that the adoption of IPM in the studied farms did not lead to an increase in the overall physical labour requirement, nor in the total time spent on plant protection.
- integrated pest-management
- field schools