San San Win, Plant Protection Division, Myanma Agriculture Service, Yangon, Myanmar
Rice in Myanmar is increasingly becoming an important food crop both to ensure food security as well as for exports. The Myanmar Rice Industry Association (MRIA) was recently established to chart a new road map to increase Myanmar’s rice production, processing and export capacities. These new efforts might stimulate the rapid increase in insecticide imports that can lead to rampant misuse and frequent planthopper outbreaks, like in many neighboring countries. BPH problems are rare in Myanmar although there have been cases of planthopper outbreaks recently. Each of these cases seemed to have occurred in fields sprayed with resurgence causing insecticides multiple times. In general insecticide use in Myanmar is low but the fresh attempts to increase rice production may bring about rapid increase in indiscriminate insecticide use. Information supply on rational insecticide applications in Myanmar remains much weaker than that the pesticide supply chains. In Thailand and Indonesia where the pesticide supply chains have proliferated, creating emotional buying and rampant misuse and planthopper outbreaks have become more intense and frequent (see Thailand, Indonesia).
Planthoppers are r- strategists and only develop into outbreak proportions when biological control ecosystems systems are destroyed. Ecological engineering techniques can be used to restore biodiversity, ecosystem services and resilience that can prevent invading hoppers from developing exponentially. The Plant Protection Division of the MAS invited the IRRI team to help in initiating ecological engineering in Myanmar. The 10 day training workshop program covering ecological principles, ecological research techniques, arthropod biodiversity, taxonomy and identification techniques and sociological principles and research techniques was presented to 35 Myanmar plant protection experts from MAS and the university. Also included are 3 explorations to sample for arthropods in rice ecosystems to determine species biodiversity of spiders and parasitoids, indicators of predation and parasitization services. Ecological engineering techniques will also be evaluated by researchers in the rice experimental station. A farmer survey will also be conducted to determine the baseline of farmers’ beliefs and practices in pest management and biodiversity conservation.