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Posts Tagged: IPM

IPM and pesticide safety a desperate need in Myanmar

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. I was asked by the United States Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) to travel to Myanmar to use my training and experience as an academic advisor affiliated with the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program and UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside County to share information about basic IPM and pesticide safety.

Myanmar temple grounds.
Myanmar is 261,227 square miles in size, a little smaller than the state of Nevada. About 15 percent of the land is under cultivation. Agriculture makes up 60 to 80 percent of Myanmar's gross domestic product, with the vast majority of agricultural production devoted to rice. Most of the farms are under 20 acres.

With the use of small tractors and other mechanized farm equipment, agricultural development is slightly more advanced in Myanmar than Bangladesh, which I visited in September 2015. Chemical pesticide use in Myanmar is intensive with little regulation or guidance. Chemical contamination of agricultural crops is widespread and mass poisoning does occur.

U.S. AID works to end global poverty and help societies become more independent. One way they do that is by helping countries like Myanmar improve their agricultural development. U.S. AID and Winrock International's Value Chain Project sent me to Myanmar as part of an ongoing effort in Asia to instruct growers in basic IPM and the safe and effective use of pesticides.

An unprotected agricultural worker spraying pesticide.
One of my goals was to try to help growers make a connection between health and the safe use of pesticides. When I first arrived in Myanmar, I found that growers had virtually no pest management information available to them and were unaware of how IPM could be used on their farms. The use of an IPM program focuses on the long-term management of pests by integrating various methods to manage problems. Pesticides are a tool in the IPM “toolbox” and used only when needed and sometimes in combination with other methods.

The growers lack of information on using pesticides safely and effectively seemed to be a recurring theme in Southeast Asia. The growers were not given access to pesticide labels or safety data sheets. In fact, the growers are given virtually no information at all on how to use the chemicals they were applying on their farms. The chemical manufacturers are responsible for this.

Farmers would often apply materials multiple times a week (sometimes more frequently), not knowing about the recommended application rate, re-entry or harvest interval. There's a real need for education in Southeast Asia. Ultimately, the growers and the consumers of contaminated agricultural products are the ones suffering.

Pesticide safety training to media group.

Over two weeks, I held four all-day workshops, mostly for growers, with a final workshop with representatives of local media agencies to teach them basic pest management principles and pesticide safety. When I asked workshop participants if any of them knew someone who had gotten sick or had died from pesticide exposure, virtually everyone raised their hands.

Some growers acknowledged that their practices were making them sick, but that they felt they had few options available to them. As a result, the US-based NGO Internews created a public service announcement (PSA) illustrating the use of personal protective equipment when applying pesticides in Myanmar. The PSA is currently being broadcast on Myanmar television and can be seen below.

This opportunity to educate the public on safe pesticide use is not enough. I recommend monthly pesticide tours be set up across the country to emphasize the need for safe and effective use of pesticides. The use of extension outreach is invaluable in situations like this.

Interviewing a tomato farmer on Inle Lake.
Some of the most remarkable farming I have ever witnessed is on Inle Lake, the second largest of Myanmar's lakes. The agricultural population of the lake, which is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, live in stilted homes primarily made of wood and bamboo. The tomato farmers build up dry ground to farm by raking up soil from the lake bottom and amending the lake soil with aquatic plants that they also rake up from the lake bottom. The farmers do all of their work from boats, including spraying pesticides.

The facilitation of the University of California's Global Food Initiative by U.S. AID and Winrock International is extremely useful. The world as we know it is shrinking with globalization of people and products. We need to reach out to others and give them the benefit of our experience. UC IPM is doing that.

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 8:30 AM
  • Author: Vonny M. Barlow
Tags: IPM (18), Myanmar (1), Vonny Barlow (2)

Women play key role in Nigerian agriculture

Women express their appreciation to Maria Alfaro for coming to Ebonyi State in Nigeria.
The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria has more than 180 million people. Located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria produces crops such as cassava, maize, sorghum, rice, yams, cowpea, oil palm and groundnuts. Agriculture is important for the economy, employing about 30 percent of its population. Women play a primary role in producing the staple crops.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources program assistant Maria Alfaro, part of the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, got to see first-hand the role of women in Nigerian agriculture. As part of a three-week volunteer project with Winrock International, Alfaro traveled throughout Nigeria visiting farms, co-ops, and local and state farming and agricultural agencies.

Alfaro meets with a chemical store manager from Fountain Agriculture Markeing Agency (FAMA) in Ado-Ekiti State.
Alfaro's mission was to conduct a pesticide safety evaluation and assess the depth of knowledge of local farmers around safety issues. Alfaro traveled to six of Nigeria's 36 states, speaking to farmers, pesticide distributors, pesticide applicators and government officials. As she traveled from state to state, Alfaro discovered that women are key in Nigerian agriculture.

“The role of women varied by region, crop and local customs," Alfaro said. "In some of the northern regions, women were involved in all aspects of farming, including applying pesticides. Yet in other regions of the South, women were only involved in small, subsistence farming, and did not apply pesticides."

As Alfaro conducted interviews with various individuals from local and state agencies, she was consistently told that for the family's needs to be met, the profits from farming should go to the women.

Alfaro was told in other interviews that the best way to disseminate pesticide safety information to families was “through the moms!”

Alfaro conducts a discussion with the FAMA director and staff in Ado-Ekiti State.
Although this was primarily an information-gathering mission, Alfaro provided local farmers and parents with tips on preventing and protecting themselves from pesticide exposure. She discovered that empty pesticide containers were being rinsed and reused as juice or water containers in children's school lunches. Empty containers will always contain pesticide residues, even if only in small amounts. Alfaro explained to parents that reusing empty containers poses a huge risk for exposing children to pesticides and told them to stop using them.

At Alfaro's final stop in Ebonyi State, women expressed their appreciation for her coming and sharing important information on how to protect themselves from the pesticides they use on their farms.

“It was a great way to end the conversations on the ground,” said Alfaro.

Alfaro's next task is to report her findings and recommendations, which include more training in a train-the-trainer format. In this type of training, students who are trained in an approved pesticide safety course become qualified to train pesticide handlers and field workers.

“Many farmers are eager to learn about what they can do to continue using pesticides in a safe and effective manner in combination with learning integrated pest management methods of control,” said Alfaro.

Winrock International is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Farmer-to-Farmer Program.

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 11:40 AM
Tags: IPM (18), Nigeria (1)

UCCE advisor takes IPM and pesticide safety to Bangladesh

Typical rice farm in Bangladesh
The South Asian country of Bangladesh, bordered on three sides by India, contains more than 22 million acres of agricultural land, with the No. 1 crop being rice. The average farm size is one acre or less, and each farm produces about 4,000 pounds of rice per year.

Vonny Barlow, a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) entomology expert and affiliated advisor with UC ANR's Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, traveled to Bangladesh in September to instruct pesticide dealers, pesticide retailers, rice farmers and other growers in Bangladesh on basic IPM practices and the safe and effective use of pesticides.

The trip was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Winrock International Farmer-to-Farmer Project.

Barlow helps Bangladeshi growers identify pest problems
Barlow, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor in Riverside County, said the experience in Bangladesh gave him a new appreciation for the U.S. extension system.

"Without the communication arm, the outreach arm, UC researchers can produce all the information they want, but if it doesn't bridge the gap to the user, its usefulness is lost," Barlow said.

IPM focuses on the long-term prevention of pests by integrating several methods to manage a problem. Pesticides are used only when needed and in combination with other effective methods.

Barlow found that Bangladeshi farmers had virtually no pest management information available to them. They also didn't have access to pesticide labels or safety data sheets (SDSs) and were using pesticides in an unsafe manner. Barlow noted that farmers would sometimes apply pesticides twice a day because they knew nothing about the appropriate application rate, the time to wait before entering a treated field, or the time that must be allowed between spraying and harvesting. Retailers did not have enough information about the pesticides they were selling and could not pass on any safety information to the farmers.

“There's a real need for education here. The farmers are the ones suffering,” Barlow said. "The outreach of UC IPM is invaluable in situations like this.”

Barlow participates in safety discussion with pesticide retailers
During his 18-day stay in Bangladesh, Barlow presented five all-day workshops - mostly to pesticide retailers, but also to growers - teaching them basic pest management principles and pesticide safety. Barlow directed much of his outreach efforts toward women retailers who are in the business to make extra money for their families.

“I had limited time and resources, but my goal was to demonstrate that there are better alternatives to their current practices," Barlow said. His hope was that “farmers would start using pesticides in a more safe and effective manner.”

Part of Barlow's goal was to try to help growers make a connection between health and applying pesticides safely. When he asked workshop participants if any of them knew someone who had gotten sick from pesticides, virtually everyone raised their hands. However, Barlow noted that they had no real sense that their farming practices were causing health problems. A large part of each of each workshop was devoted to showing examples of personal protective equipment (PPE) that applicators could wear to help reduce pesticide exposure.

Barlow discusses personal protective equipment and pesticide safety with retailers and growers
Barlow found that his workshops were very well received and that there was a genuine interest in what he was teaching. Most farmers and retailers had cell phones with Internet access, so Barlow was able to share pest management and pesticide safety information from the UC IPM website with them.

Barlow hopes to return to Bangladesh one day and plans to stay in touch with U.S. AID representatives to see what impact he made during his short visit.

“It was a rewarding experience, and I left with a real sense of satisfaction," Barlow said. "I was glad I did it.”

The University of California Global Food Initiative aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. By building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among UC's 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the initiative will develop and export solutions for food security, health and sustainability throughout California, the United States and the world.

Author: Cheryl Reynolds

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 8:40 AM
Tags: Bangladesh (1), IPM (18), Vonny Barlow (2)

Bee kind to pollinators – Use integrated pest management to reduce pesticide use

An adult honey bee on a white clover blossom. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark

The importance of pollinators – such as bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds – is becoming more widely known. Bees pollinate approximately 35 percent of the food we eat. Pollinators as a whole are worth about $15 billion to the agricultural industry.

Honey bees are important, yet they are declining. Besides issues such as habitat loss and disease, pest management methods can also contribute to population loss. Pesticides used to kill insects, plant pathogens and weeds can leave residues that kill bees and other natural enemies. Residues can linger in pollen and nectar, and pollinators moving into an area after an application can be unintentionally harmed. Even some less-toxic materials can be harmful if not applied correctly or if applied at the wrong time.

Growers and home gardeners can find newly updated guidelines for protecting pollinators as well as a list of honey bee resources on the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program website. The UC IPM program, a part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, works with residents, farmers, land managers, community leaders and other professional pest managers to prevent and solve pest problems with the least unintended impacts on people, beneficial species and their surroundings.

IPM combines several effective pest control methods that are safe for people and the environment with the goal of long-term prevention and management. Many pest problems can be solved without the use of pesticides. Using pest resistant or competitive plants, removing the pests' sources of food and water, knocking pests off plants with a spray of water, deploying traps and blocking pests' entrance to buildings with screens or other barriers are just a few things you can do to reduce a pest problem. IPM reduces the need for pesticides, thus preventing harm to bees.

Pesticides are sometimes necessary in an IPM program, but when used, they should be used in combination with non-chemical methods. There are several key points to keep in mind when applying pesticides:

  • Use them sparingly, and only treat areas where pests are problems.
  • Choose selective pesticides and ones that won't persist in the environment.
  • Time applications so that you are not spraying when bees are active, and avoid spraying during bloom time.
  • Be aware of nearby bee colonies, and avoid spraying around healthy bee populations and areas with a lot of nectar-producing plants.

New research looking at pesticide risks to honey bees and new pesticide labels being developed by the EPA that prohibit the use of some pesticides when bees are present are just a couple of efforts being made to protect pollinators. UC IPM is revising its list of pesticides ranked for risk of harm to honey bees in its Pest Management Guidelines (relative toxicities tables). An online searchable database is expected to be published in early fall. This information will eventually be incorporated into the Pest Management Guidelines.

For more information on IPM and on what you can do to protect bees and other pollinators, visit the UC IPM web site.

An initiative to manage endemic and invasive pests and diseases is part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.

Author: Cheryl Reynolds

 

Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Tags: honey bees (9), IPM (18)

New online course helps PCAs manage pesticide resistance

New online course focuses on pesticide resistance.
Pesticide resistance is not a new subject, and researchers have been working for years on how to manage the problem. Resistance develops when the same type of pesticide is used repeatedly and frequently to control a pest. Every pest population contains individuals that vary genetically in some way; some vary in their susceptibility to being killed by a particular pesticide.

When a pesticide is applied, some individual insects or weeds are killed and others are not. The individuals that are not killed vary genetically from the ones that were killed, and when they reproduce, their offspring are also likely not to be susceptible to the pesticide. Over time, the population changes and you are left with the genetically resistant individuals as the majority of the population. Resistant pests can result in higher pesticide rates being applied and more frequent applications. We see resistance occurring in weeds, insects and pathogens.  

Pest control advisers and growers are often the first to see what is going on in the field. After a pesticide is applied, they may be the first to report back to researchers if the application was effective or not. If they see patterns of decreased susceptibility of a pest population to a pesticide that was previously effective at controlling the pest, they may conclude that resistance is occurring. Pesticide resistance is the topic of a new online course developed by UC IPM that can help PCAs and other licensed pesticide applicators recognize resistance when it is occurring, discover how it developed, apply practical methods of managing it and delay its occurrence.

The new online course covers resistance within the disciplines of plant pathology, entomology and weed science. It is based on a series of workshops on resistance management held in Davis, Fresno and at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center during the spring of 2014 presented by UC Cooperative Extension specialists Doug Gubler (Dept. of Plant Pathology, UC Davis.), Larry Godfrey (Dept. of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis), Beth Grafton-Cardwell (Lindcove Research and Extension Center and UC Riverside Dept. of Entomology), and Kassim Al-Khatib (UC Statewide IPM Program).  

There are several mechanisms through which pests become resistant to pesticides. One mechanism common to all three disciplines is target site alteration, where the site a pesticide normally attacks is somehow altered and no longer allows a pesticide to bind and affect the pest. Metabolic resistance is another mechanism, where pests detoxify or break down the chemical before it can work.

Although some differences occur in delaying or managing resistance across the disciplines, the key is to try to avoid intensive applications of pesticides so as not to allow resistant pests to become the majority of the population. Good IPM practices can reduce the need for pesticide applications. Rotating chemicals with different modes of action can also help manage resistance.

For an in-depth look at pesticide resistance, check out the new course at http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu/training/pesticide_resistance.html. This course has been approved for two continuing education units in the “Other” category from the Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:58 AM
Tags: IPM (18), resistance (1)

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