Stories tagged: CropLife Asia

Reaping the Fruit of Training in Thailand

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Thailand is a major fruit exporting country. Yet thousands of the country’s small fruit farmers used to struggle with poor yields. In addition, many lacked knowledge about food safety and meeting global standards for export.

Since 2006, the Thai Crop Protection Association (TCPA) has been actively reaching out to smallholders in Chantaburi, a key fruit production province in the east. The objective: to help fruit farmers grow bigger and better quality crops, thereby improving their income. Growers of mangosteen, rambutan and durian used to apply pesticides excessively – and ineffectively. In addition, they had little knowledge about efficient pesticide use, personal safety and environmental protection. The result: low yields, high costs and risks of pesticide exposure.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, TCPA trained fruit farmers on Good Agricultural Practices, including environmentally friendly methods to deal with pest infestations and the responsible use of pesticides. To help more farmers export their fruit, the partners also provided training on food safety, including ways to minimize pesticide residue on crops.

Besides fruit farmers, TCPA also worked with the Royal Project Foundation in the country’s rural north to promote more effective crop protection practices in over 275 villages. In addition, TCPA’s Train the Trainer initiative has motivated farmer leaders to educate others, creating a cascade effect and expanding outreach in the country.

Wuttichai Prakosub, 24, grows mangosteen and durian on a six-hectare family farm in Chantaburi, Thailand. He plans to produce mangosteen to meet global standards for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and export the fruit to countries in the European Union (EU).

Currently, I am selling mangosteen just to local cooperatives. What I’d like to do is make more money by working with major exporters and sell my fruit at higher prices to markets in the EU. Training by the TCPA on the responsible use of pesticides has helped me grow higher quality fruit. I have cut pesticide costs by 30 percent and am contributing to food safety. For instance, I refrain from spraying crop protection products 14 days before harvest. The training has also helped me to understand global GAP better. I’m confident we will eventually produce mangosteen that are fit for export.

 

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

Making a Difference with Farmer Training in Vietnam

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In Vietnam, where some 55 percent of the labor force is involved in agriculture, traditional farming methods dominate the way small growers in the country work. Lacking access to technology and knowledge on how to protect their harvests, millions of farmers in Vietnam struggle with low yields.

To transfer skills and technology to Vietnam’s farmers, CropLife Vietnam is working closely with the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on farmer training programs. In 2008, 1,505 growers of vegetables, fruit and tea in nine provinces benefited from training provided by the private-public partnership.

In the same period, 44 farmer field schools were established nationwide. Another 40,000 have learnt Good Agricultural Practices, including crop selection, fertilizer usage as well as the responsible use of pesticides, through mass media campaigns and TV contests for farmers.

These campaigns are highly effective in reaching farmers in remote areas, while being entertaining and educational.

CropLife Vietnam is concerned about the problems faced by rice farmers, many of whom are struggling to combat infestation of their crops by brown plant hoppers. This year, training has been expanded to include rice farmers in key growing areas. Vietnam is the world’s second-largest exporter of rice after Thailand.

Ngo Thi Nhieu, a 35-year-old farmer from Vietnam’s Dong Mai village in Bac Ninh province, used to struggle to produce enough from her 1-acre land to feed her family. Today, her family has enough to eat because she produces enough to sell what she grows and makes a comfortable living.

For the first time in 2005, Ngo learnt how to combat pest infestations on her rice and vegetable fields in a session conducted by the CropLife-MARD partnership. In the past, she used traditional farming methods her parents taught her.

Today, we are very much aware of food safety standards at home and around the world. We take great care in everything we do – from choosing the seed, to using fertilizer, water and pesticides properly. We are fully aware of the importance of food safety.

Training has made a big difference in Ngo’s life. She added, “Not only my family – but also my neighbors – we all have a better life.”

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

Transferring knowledge to farmers in Taiwan

In line with the Taiwanese government’s aim to turn the country’s agriculture industry into a competitive and green sector, the plant science industry is actively involved in helping growers harness technology to increase yields while adopting environmentally friendly farming practices.

Recognizing that farmers may not have expertise in protecting their crops, CropLife Taiwan has been reaching out to farmers nationwide on responsible pesticide use. Through farmers’ meetings, booklets and the dissemination of personal protection equipment, the Association aims to step up its efforts to educate farmers on product stewardship, including enhancing food safety.

CropLife Taiwan has partnered with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and crop protection associations to strengthen its farmer outreach initiatives. In Taoyuan county, the EPA and CropLife Taiwan have been training farmers on proper treatment of used pesticide containers, including triple rinsing and recycling. The objective is for farmers to be responsible stewards of the land and add value to the agricultural food chain.

Lin Ah Qin, a vegetable farmer from Taiwan’s Changhua county, struggled to support her family of three children after her husband passed away four years ago. With little knowledge about farming, yields were low.

Lin’s life turned around after she attended a farmers’ meeting in 2007. At the event, she learnt about protecting her harvests, including selecting crop protection products, frequency of use and dosage. In addition, Lin picked up tips on enhancing food safety by following product label instructions.

After using pesticides on her garlic crops to combat pests and disease, Lin saw a dramatic improvement. When the harvest came three months later, yields had jumped 14 percent. Encouraged, Lin followed the same guidelines with her winter crops. Again yields increased, this time by 15 percent.

Training on the responsible use of pesticides has resulted in greater efficiency and lower input costs for Lin. In addition, she learnt environmentally friendly ways of disposing of empty pesticide containers. Lin looks forward to the future with confidence, knowing her yields and income will continue to improve, sufficiently providing for her and her three children.

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

Innovation and training improve livelihoods of mango growers

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To protect mature mango trees from disease and insect infestations, growers in the Philippines in provinces such as Batangas, Laguna, Pangasinan, Davao and Cebu used to be heavy users of crop protection products. Spray applicators would regularly climb the trees with equipment to apply products. Accidents involving workers falling from trees and sustaining injuries were common, as was heavy exposure to pesticide.

To improve safety for spray applicators, CropLife Philippines partnered with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority between 2006 and 2008 to develop an innovative crop protection product applicator. The extendable pole, made from either bamboo or aluminum alloy, enables spray applicators to spray mango trees from the ground. The partners have documented the methodology in a training handbook to benefit the industry, applicators and growers.

In addition to creating the extendable pole for spray applicators, the partners also launched training initiatives on Good Agricultural Practices, including Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is an effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling pests. Farmers have learnt how to identify plant diseases and insect infestation levels and make decisions on the type and amount of pesticide to use by following the exact instructions on the product labels.

 

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

Gains to Punjab’s cotton farmers

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To help Pakistani cotton farmers in Punjab reduce pesticide use, cut input costs and improve crop yields, CropLife Pakistan has been reaching out to growers, partnering with the Agriculture Department in establishing farmer field schools in the region.

In 2008, 1,050 farmer field schools were set up across the region, offering training programs to 31,500 participants on reading and understanding instructions on product labels, correct transportation and secure storage of pesticides, safe handling and personal hygiene after spraying.

The partners’ program on responsible pesticide use was included in the Department’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project for farmers in 2008. In addition, local doctors were taught how to identify and react to suspected cases of pesticide-related incidents, such as recognizing initial symptoms. The program has been such a success that 78 percent of participants encouraged other farmers to sign up for training.

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

Green farming: a living legacy

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Across vast tracts of lush farmland in Malaysia, farmers used to dump pesticide containers in waterways and clearings after use, causing pollution to the environment. Such practices resulted from a lack of knowledge amongst farmers and adequate facilities for responsible disposal.

In a move to encourage sustainable agriculture, the Malaysian CropLife & Public Health Association (MCPA) is actively involved in a nationwide recycling initiative with the Department of Agriculture.

Through seminars and workshops held across the country, the partners have reached numerous plantation companies, small vegetable farmers and state agricultural officers. Farmers and extension workers in the country are trained on Good Agricultural Practices and the responsible disposal of used pesticide containers.

MCPA campaigns for the recycling of disposed high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers – a common material used in packaging crop protection products. Recycled products include nursery trays, nozzles, irrigation spikes and door frames.

Recognizing the importance of not just farmers, but all members of society in the effort to protect the environment, MCPA has also included school children in its recycling initiative. The Association has conducted workshops and a science fair emphasizing the importance of green initiatives and the responsible disposal of plastics.

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about their work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.