Khun Samlee Boonyaviwat representing Director General of the Rice Department of Thailand, Khun Prasert Golsalvitra delivered an opening address to the Review and Planning Workshop of the Rice Planthopper Project held in Bangkok, Thailand. In her speech, she emphasized the need for the group to develop and refine ecologically sound methods to control rice planthopper problems. To increase awareness of ecological engineering methods, the Rice Department has launched 6 field day events which involved 3600 farmers.
The last phase of the Project had introduced ecological engineering concepts, collected baseline data on insecticide resistance, arthropod biodiversity and sociological aspects of farmers. In addition, the Project had developed new paradigms in utilizing genetic resources, ecological principles and farmers’ decisions for managing planthopper problems. Twelve ecological engineering pilot sites had been established and total of 174 national partners participated in training courses. Ecological engineering, unknown in rice pest management before the Project started, has now received local and national attention in China , Thailand (including a royal audience), and Vietnam where the Ecological Engineering Initiative was launched by the vice minister of agriculture). The Project has also leveraged parallel support from in-country sources amounting to about US$6.54 million.
Sixty participants from China, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam participated in the workshop to plan next steps towards restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services, communicating to farmers and policy makers, varietal deployment, virus disease management and insecticide resistance monitoring. FAO’s Chief of Plant Protection Services, Dr Peter Kenmore, who was scheduled to give the keynote could not come due to unforeseen circumstances but sent his presentation. He expressed his concerns about the huge insecticide exports to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Indonesia in the last 5 years (Read: Pesticide Tsunami) might play a significant role in inducing BPH outbreaks.