Nguyen Huu Huan
Vice Director General, Plant Protection Department
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ho Chi Minh City
Ecological engineering concepts first introduced to Vietnam by the ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project are now being communicated to plant protection specialists both in research and extension in Vietnam. Professor Geoff Gurr, of Charles Sturt University, Australia, presented these ideas in the International Rice Planthopper Conference organized by IRRI. This paper is now published in a book “Planthoppers: new threats to the sustainability of intensive rice production systems in Asia.”). A recent article written by Associate Professor Nguyen Van Huynh of Can Tho University and published in Nong Nghiep, a popular agricultural daily newspaper, clearly explains the concepts and describes the advantages of the ecological techniques (in Vietnamese).
For a Google translation of the article, click here.
Ecological engineering techniques involve modifying the production environment, spatially and temporally or both, to increase biodiversity and ecosystem services and to avoid peak pest migrations. In the Mekong Delta, virus diseases carried by the brown planthopper were very serious in 2006. In order to reduce the vulnerability of seedlings to virus infections, the “escape strategy” was developed. This involved organizing farmers in communities to use local light trap records they collect to time their sowing activities to avoid the pest migration peaks. This technique has made significant contributions to the reduction of virus diseases today.
Ecological engineering is now implemented in two villages in Cai Be and Cai Lay, Tien Giang province. Here farmers grow several species of nectar producing flowers along 2.6 km of bunds to provide resources to hymenopteran parasitoids and pollinators. In July the Tien Giang provincial government plans to launch a campaign to popularize the new concepts among farmers.