Effective pest management is essential for safeguarding crops and ensuring food security by minimizing yield losses caused by pests and diseases. It promotes sustainable agriculture practices, reducing the reliance on chemical interventions that can harm the environment and human health. By maintaining a balance in the ecosystem and preserving biodiversity, pest management contributes to the overall resilience and long-term viability of agricultural systems. Recognising this, Fairtrade NAPP has organized a 2-day Integrated Pest Management Workshop for Thai rice in collaboration with the small producer organizations of Thailand to tackle the farm problems that rice farmers are facing. The training aimed to improve the knowledge of rice growers on insect pests and diseases that are causing crop losses while fostering sustainable agriculture. This workshop was attended by 45 trainees representing 12 SPOs. To get a better understanding, the trainers first visited the rice field and agriculture extension office to survey the rice field and monitor the pest and disease situation in the Ubon Ratchathani area, collect plant and insect samples for training sessions preparation.
The day commenced with a discussion regarding the Fairtrade standard requirements as per Chapter 3 under the pest management and hazardous materials use section, 3.2.2 Integrated pest management training. specifically addressing Pest Management and hazardous materials usage. The training introduced rice bio-ecology and basic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) followed by the participants in identifying insect pests and diseases.
During the afternoon session, participants engaged in hands-on practice for identifying insects and diseases in the field. This provided insights into field observation techniques and sample collection. In addition to this, participants also gained insights into field monitoring equipment. The day wrapped up with a session on the crop calendar to set the stage for effective pest management planning.
At the morning session, participants were divided into groups for field monitoring in paddy fields. The first session of the day introduced agroecological system Analysis (AESA) and facilitated farm management decision-making presentations to the participants. Ms. Areepan and her team highlighted biological control as an alternative method.
As part of the afternoon session, three learning stations covered beneficial insects and microorganisms for insect and disease control. It was followed by a session on Integrated Pest Management in rice crops. The day concluded with discussions on important topics, including the LIPR project, gender profiling project, and the need assessment and Producer Support and Relations (PSR) project planning for rice SPOs in 2024. The training marked a significant step toward sustainable agriculture, equipping participants with practical knowledge and fostering collaborative initiatives for a resilient future.
The immediate outcomes include the following:
- Technical staff of SPOs or leading farmers serving as trainers, have enhanced their understanding of Integrated Pest Management for rice crops throughout the entire cultivation process, starting from land preparation to harvest. They now possess the ability to comprehend the ecological system of rice crops, identify the causes of crop issues, recognize beneficial insects and organisms, and are familiar with alternative crop management methods.
- Trainees have acquired knowledge of field monitoring techniques.
- Trainees are proficient in transferring their acquired knowledge to fellow farmer members.
- Trainees have been provided with training materials for conducting field training sessions with farmer members.
The training program’s immediate outcomes mark significant progress toward the project’s overarching goal. By elevating the knowledge of technical staff and leading farmers in Integrated Pest Management for rice crops, the initiative empowers producers to identify problems and make informed decisions for optimal farm management. This initiative underscores Fairtrade’s commitment to ethical and sustainable farming, ensuring a prosperous and equitable future for all stakeholders involved in the pursuit of Fairtrade standards.
“This workshop is a good project. I learnt a lot about pests and diseases and beneficial insects and
organisms. I am confident that I can identify which insects are my friend who helps protect the rice crop and which one are pests that damage rice. This training provided a good opportunity for me to make more friends with other SPOs. In the coming year, I will integrate this knowledge into my training session.” – Mr. Boonyapat Lakkum, Organic Jasmine Rice Producer Group.
I like the learning strategy of this workshop that allows the trainee to learn from the practical session. I learned how to manage the crop by using the bio-agent/organism. This workshop is very useful because the learning topics are what we need, our members lack knowledge of rice’s pests and diseases. We are planning to organize the pest management training and Trichoderma application techniques for our members.” – Mrs. Lalita Wangdee, Organic Agriculture Cooperative Surin Ltd.