International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
A group of scientists met in James Cook University Singapore in March 2011 to discuss and brain storm on the potential threats of pesticides on the paddy wetlands, both the on-site effects on local ecosystem services and rice production and off-site impacts on biodiversity, conservation and aquatic life. There was a general consensus that insecticide misuses have become rampant (Read: pesticide tsunami). They are inducing the return of the “green revolution pests”, like the brown planthopper (BPH) and two related virus diseases. In addition, insecticide misuses are also inducing a previous insignificant pest, the white back planthopper (WBPH) and the spread of a new virus disease. In some cases stem borer problems have also intensified. Pesticides, particularly insecticides are threatening rice production in Asia (Read about outbreaks particularly outbreaks in 2009 and most recently in Indonesia).
In an interview with AFP reporters the workshop organizer, Dr George Lukacs, head of the Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel, expressed concern and calls for action to improve pesticide regulations (Read: ABS-CBN news).
The workshop “Pesticides, Rice and Wetlands” was partially supported by the Ministry of Environment, Japan and the Ramsar regional center for East Asia in Korea. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands created in 1971 and named after the city Ramsar in Iran, is an intergovernmental treaty representing the commitments of the signatory nations to maintain the ecological character of their wetlands and to plan for sustainable use of wetlands within their territory. For more details, click here. Scientists from the academe, NGOs, research centers (KL Heong from IRRI) participated in the Singapore Workshop to prepare for next year’s meeting in Bucharest of the Ramsar Convention that can possibly lead to a resolution for international adoption.
IRRI and FAO are jointly organizing a planning workshop on “Rice Planthopper Problems and Insecticide Use – Developing sustainable interventions, structures and policies”, March 15-16, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. The main aim is to understand insecticide supply chain and rice planthopper problems in rice production, develop a framework to gather data and critically appraise the problem and related economic, social, structural and political issues; and to develop sustainable interventions to address the issues. Click here for workshop program.