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Escaping the Pesticide Trap: Non-Pesticide Management in India Ingredients for Success.

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Presentation on theme: "Escaping the Pesticide Trap: Non-Pesticide Management in India Ingredients for Success."— Presentation transcript:

1 Escaping the Pesticide Trap: Non-Pesticide Management in India Ingredients for Success

2 The Crisis: The Beginnings  Cotton production spread among small farms as a cash crop.  Cotton required chemical insecticides and fertilizers: new to these farmers!  Commercial dealers (a) sold seeds and chemicals on credit (b) guaranteed purchase of cotton crop (c) provided information about use from multinational corporate suppliers.  Early years made profit because cotton pests had not moved in.

3 The Crisis: The Trap  Cotton pests plagued fields, requiring regular spraying.  Weak pests died while resistant pests lived and multiplied.  Farmers reacted by spraying more pesticides more often.  Insecticides killed predators: birds, wasps, beetles, & spiders.  Without predators, forced to spray or the harvest would be lost.  Insecticides damaged soil, requiring more chemical fertilizers.

4 The Crisis: The Decline  Input expenses went up so much farmers lost money on cotton.  Farmers debt deepened since inputs were bought on credit.  Desperation led to illegal side-jobs & indentured labor for kids.  Education was set aside, assuring continued cycle of poverty.  Insecticide poisoning spread: illness, hospital bills, & death.  Farmers trapped in cotton production because agrochemical dealers required full debt repayment if they stopped buying.  Suicide rate soared to highest in India as debt escalated.

5 Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)  Scientists devised system for using no chemical insecticides.  Planting Neem trees, which have natural insect repellants.  Producing & applying Neem leaf/seed solution to repel pests.

6 Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)  Burning heavily infested branches.  Lighting small bonfires to kill bollworm moths.  Plowing deeply between crops to wipe out pest pupae in soil.

7  Applying chili-garlic solution, cow dung & urine to repel pests.  Fighting pests by applying naturally occurring viruses. Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)

8  Using colorful sticky boards to trap pests. Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)

9  Planting ‘trap crops’ to attract pests away from the cotton.  Using pheromone traps to track which fields need treatment. Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)

10  Building bird perches to attract insect-eating birds. Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)

11  Natural control by predatory insects that kill pest insects. Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)

12 Outside stimulation and facilitation  Venu Madhav came to Punukula as worker for NGO SECURE.  Took villagers to distant farm that used NPM.  Scientists put together a package of NPM methods.  SECURE found and coached a villager willing to risk NPM.  Two SECURE staff members stayed in Punukula to help.  After Punukula success, Center for Sustainable Agriculture trained women in several thousand other villages to use NPM.

13 Strong local democratic institutions and enduring commitment of local leadership  First adopter Margam Mutthaiah (strong and dedicated leader).  NPM grew in a widening circle until entire village used it.  Village council and farmers’ association supported and helped.  Women pressured men to use NPM and prepared materials.  NPM spread to existing women self-help groups across region.

14 Co-adaption between social system and ecosystem  Farmers organized to make eco-friendly NPM a reality.  Farmers used local Neem trees instead of costly insecticides.  Improved health of people and ecosystem.  Soil nourished by Neem cakes and animal dung.  NPM techniques allowed birds and livestock to thrive.  Instead of chemical fertilizers they started vermi-composting.

15 "Letting nature do the work"  NPM methods repelled, trapped or killed pests.  Neem leaves and seeds contain natural insect repellants.  Repellants affected specific pests and didn’t harm other life.  Pests could not build resistance to such diverse methods.  Birds and pest predators returned, so less Neem needed.  Putting Neem cakes in soil improved nitrogen content.

16 Rapid results  First season’s harvest with NPM as big as with insecticides.  Immediate and dramatic drop in production costs.  The next year (1998), 20 farmers joined in using NPM.  Within a few years, farmers cleared their debts.  By 2004, village council declared Punukula pesticide-free.  By 2008, 340,000 farmers in 3170 villages using NPM.

17 A Powerful Symbol  Returned to health by stopping poisons.  Returned to wealth by not paying for pesticides.

18 Overcoming social obstacles  Insecticide dealers demanded full debt payment if farmers stopped buying insecticides.  Farmers banded together to fight this demand.  Dealers punished NPM users by paying less for their cotton.  Farmers formed a marketing cooperative and found fair prices.  Convinced State to ignore corporate lobbyists & support NPM.

19 Social and ecological diversity  Punukula farmers received a diversity of technical assistance.  The Neem tree has a variety of natural pesticides and defenses which prevent development of resistance by pests.  Used a diversity of NPM methods for unique qualities of pests.  Diversity of pest predators restored: natural controls!

20 Social and ecological memory  Neem traditionally used in health & beauty products and to protect stored grains from pest insects.  NPM used ecological memory of birds and pest predators.

21 Building Resilience  Healthier society and ecosystem helped sustain their gains in the face of unexpected challenges.  Pesticide poisoning stopped and health and vitality returned.  Less spent on agricultural chemicals and hospitals allowed farmers to pay off debts and achieve financial resilience.  Children rescued from indentured servitude started schooling.  Commitment secured by teaching NPM in schools and training women in self-help groups across the region.

22 Building Resilience  Women built income making and selling NPM materials.  Farmers expanded to new crops and businesses.  Success bred confidence, solidarity & stronger social support.  Community united and made demands on government.  Villagers worked on community projects, such as purifying village water & setting up a cotton gin to boost income.

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