K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
Rice production in Asia may be exposed to risks such as price floods, droughts, climate change, price volatility, labor shortage, food safety, pest and disease outbreaks. World Bank has established a knowledge- and experience-sharing platform for managing risk in development, FARMD (Forum for agricultural risk management for development) to promote knowledge exchange in agricultural risk management by fostering dialogue access to information and partnerships. In addition FARMD also provide opportunities for learning, capacity building and advancements in agricultural risk management. The forum works as a network to stimulate dialogue between public and private sectors, to promote collaborations, to improve coordination and access to contacts and information on good practices. Membership is diverse, encompassing multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private entities, regional organizations, actors in agricultural supply chains, and government organization. The 2012 FARMD Conference in Sheraton Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City October 17-18, 2012 focused on Risks and Rice in Asia.
The Conference was opened by vice minister Dr Bui Ba Bong and in his address he spoke about how Vietnam had done well in helping farmers manage risks associated with rice production. The rice industry can be subjected to many factors such as weather (floods and drought), government policies (like Thailand’s rice mortgage scheme and India’s lifting of the export ban), pests and diseases. At the panel on production risks, K.L. Heong described how rice’s worst pest problem today is the BPH and this problem is induced by excessive insecticide use which is driven by poor regulations in pesticides distribution and marketing. Report in Vietnam News.
In December 2011 IRRI called for stricter control on pesticide use and launched the “Action Plan”. The threat of insecticide misuse induced planthopper outbreaks was presented at the 34 th ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry in Laos and now again at the FARMD risk forum. In December 2011 at the International Conference in Hanoi, the panel endorsed the mitigation option to manage pesticide marketing regulations. Vietnam has been taking steps to curb insecticide misuse issuing administration orders and developing new pesticide distribution and marketing regulations. Thailand working with the pesticide industry sector (Thai Agro Business Association TABA) as an interim measure launched a campaign to stop the use of resurgence causing cypermethrin and abamectin in June 2011. Some farmers in Suphan Buri did refrain from using these insecticides and some shops had stopped stocking them.
In the long term, structural transformation of pesticide distribution and marketing is necessary. Vietnam is taking the lead towards this by developing Circular # 18, which is to be implemented in November 2012. Meanwhile Vietnam is also considering the banning of cypermethrin from rice before the end of this year.
The Conference agreed to consider establishing an ASEAN Chapter of FARMD to provide a platform for research, debates and exploring of ideas on mitigation options for risks in production, rice prices, poverty reduction and sustainability.