How are farmers integrating IPM practices into their rice farming?

Integrated pest management (IPM), although seen to be useful for sustainable rice production, has not been easy for farmers to adopt. We are a project implementing adaptive research on IPM together with farmers in Cambodia.

We are looking for a student who can research with us on how the farmers are making changes to their practices. How are farmers learning about these new technologies?

  • We have started to put in place mechanisms to track feedback from farmers and the changes they might implement (reflection meetings, facilitated field visits, farmer diaries)
  • Through the farmer diaries we are also interested to see their practices and the socio-economic implications of these (e.g. cost and returns, availability of the recommended tool/input)

Details on the participatory trials (adaptive research) in four provinces in Cambodia:
The project, led by the International Rice Research Institute, has currently set-up trials with farmers/farming communities to find out whether/how the farmers could make the technologies work for them. These are in Battambang, Kampong Thom, Takeo and Prey Veng. The first 2 seasons, farmers followed a specific protocol comparing plots ‘with the technology’, then with their own ‘farmer’s practice’, and another control plot termed ‘conventional practice’--which is the average of practices in the village based on survey results. Starting in the dry season 2018 (Jan), the farmers will implement farmer-led experiments where farmers make decisions which technologies they want to try and integrate. These are the technologies tried so far:

  • Biological control agent (BCA) for diseases (using trichoderma)
  • Biological control agent (BCA) for insects (using entomopathogenic fungi)
  • Integrated rodent management (line trap barrier system, community action, bromedialone)
  • Integrated rodent management (community trap barrier system, community action)
  • ‘Basic Integrated Pest Management’ as the basic agronomic practice for all treatments (includes lower seed rate, better land leveling, good water management, lower fertilizer rate - recommendation based on soil type, no insecticides)

Topic 2: Where do the synergies lie for various stakeholders promoting IPM in Cambodia?

At present, a number of government, research and civil society groups have a shared interest in promoting sustainable practices including IPM in Cambodia. These have separate, or slightly overlapping activities (e.g. through the Agroecology Learning Alliance in Southeast Asia), but may achieve better impact by harnessing synergies towards their shared goals. We are looking for a student who may be interested to investigate the different strands of sustainable practice related to pest management (both in narratives and implemented on farms), identify the stakeholder groups, assess where the overlaps are and provide insights on how these varied stakeholders could work together in a more concerted manner.