One may ponder, what may be the most important stage of crop production? Effective pest management is crucial for maintaining healthy and productive agricultural systems. By employing sustainable techniques, farmers can protect their crops from pests while minimizing environmental impact and promoting biodiversity. Given the importance, the Integrated Pest Management Workshop for minor crop producers of Thailand has been designed and jointly organized by Fairtrade NAPP and small producer organizations in Thailand to tackle the farm problems that minor crop farmers are facing. 18 leaders, representing 7 small producer organizations, have enhanced their knowledge on Integrated pest Management and are now able to transfer their knowledge to fellow farmer members.

Before the workshop, a field observation in a chili plantation was conducted where the trainers first surveyed pest infestations, and prepared pest and disease samples for training sessions. On the following day, they visited a pineapple plantation and a coconut orchard to survey pest infestations and gather additional samples from the producer’s farms. This gave an insight for trainers to understand what these producers are dealing with. The workshop began an introduction to the workshop agenda. This was followed by discussions on Fairtrade standards related to environmental management, pest management, and hazardous material use. An external consultant led a session on bio-ecology and Integrated Pest Management. In the afternoon, leaders learned about insect pests and diseases, field observation techniques, and trap installation. For more practical insight, this session was followed by group work on field monitoring and crop calendar preparation. On the second day, a group presentation was organized that was followed by the sessions on insect and disease classification, decision-making for farm management, and alternative control methods. In addition, it also covered pest and disease control in various crops, including chili, pineapple, coconut, lychee, and sugarcane. Various pest management methods, including mechanical, physical, and biological control, and preventive measures, were also discussed. The workshop concluded with a summarizing the workshop’s content.

“This training is very impressive to me as the content of training is very useful and easy to understand. I will apply the pest management technique to my farm.” – Mr. Churaket Jongpaisarn, Trat Fairtrade Pineapple Farmers Group.

The workshop had a significant impact on the leaders by equipping them with training materials to aid in farm management decisions and preparing IPM training sessions for their members. The training enhanced producers’ knowledge of insects, pests and diseases causing crop losses in crops like pineapple, lychee, herbs and spices, sugarcane, coconut, and cashew nut, as well as natural enemies, including beneficial insects and microorganisms. Producers learned to observe field conditions, identify problems, and make informed decisions on effective farm management. The Integrated Pest Management workshop covered key topics such as Fairtrade standards on environmental management, focusing on pest management and hazardous material use, crop calendar development, field observation techniques, and agro-ecosystem analysis. This training is expected to have a long-term impact by improving farm management techniques and reducing pesticide use through alternative methods. Hence, it will help the producer organizations and their members to comply with Fairtrade standards for smallholder farmers.

“This workshop is very useful that we had opportunity to learn the new knowledge from specialist and also, we can exchange knowledge between SPOs. Especially, I benefit from the pest and disease manage topic because I have learnt the cause of problem and controlling method. We will transfer our knowledge to our member. We are looking forward to next training.” – Mrs. Chotima Swanlong, Nakornphet Fairtrade Sugar Cane Group

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