Zeng-Rong Zhu and Wen-Wu Zhou, Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and Ming-Quan Yu, Bureau of Sanmen County, Zhejiang, China
Following an earlier message design workshop where Zhejiang University and the National Agro-Tech Extension & Service Centre (NATESC) developed campaign materials on ecological engineering (EE), a follow-up workshop was held on 3 December 2011 in Sanmen County. At the workshop, Dr. K.L. Heong introduced EE concepts, Dr. Monina Escalada discussed the need to pretest communication materials, and Dr. Zeng-Rong Zhu presented the progress of EE research and implementation activities in Zhejiang province.
Mr. Xiong-Cheng Ye, director and Mr. Guang-Jun Mei, deputy director of the Bureau of Agriculture of Sanmen County, Mr. Qi-Sheng Lou, head of Agri Tech Extension Center, Mr. Ren Dian-Dong, head, Plant Protection Station, Sanmen County, and Mr. Yan Jia-Shun, vice town chief, Ting Pan township, expressed support for ecological engineering as it can help farmers reduce the use of insecticides and increase profits. They said that they have reduced insecticide use in Hejia village and they want it expanded for the rest of Sanmen County.
The workshop aimed to introduce EE to county agriculture and plant protection officials, enlist their support, and conduct an in-house review and a field pretest of two campaign materials – a poster and “shun kou liu”.
Rather similar to the modern rap, the “shun kou liu” (literal translation: doggerel) in the Chinese context is an easy-to-read humorous verse form with irregular measure, although the one for the EE campaign uses a 3-3-7 character rhythm. The verse form enjoyed great popularity in Chinese history for expressing what everyone knew. It was sometimes used as a satire to call attention to or poke fun at what’s happening in society.
Here is an English translation of the verse form:
Ecological engineering for pest control
On the bunds, plant some flowers, white sesame soya okra
To natural enemies, green frogs, spider wasps, a safe home
Many natural enemies, fewer pests, rice stem borer damage can not rise
Less money for pesticides, fertilizer, saving labor, spending less
High yield, good quality, high income hahaha
Ecological beauty, the environment, health, harmony for you and me
We conducted a group pretest of the poster with farmers in Hejia county. Hejia farmers, who are part-time as they have jobs in the city, have not used insecticides on their rice crops for many years. On small landholdings, farmers mostly grow hybrid rice and sweet potato. Farmers argued that since their organic rice fetches double the market price for regular rice, it is not worth the cost and effort to apply insecticides.
To evaluate if the prototype poster can be understood, we asked farmers to tell us the message of the posters. All eight farmers in the group knew the poster’s message and did not find anything offensive in both the text and the visual.