Ho Van Chien, Southern Regional Plant Protection Center, Long Ding, Tien Giang, Vietnam, M.M. Escalada, Visayas State University, Leyte, Philippines, and
K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
His Excellency the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Bui Ba Bong, launched the Ecological Engineering Initiative on 10 September 2010 in Tien Giang province. This was picked up by three other provinces organizing their own initiatives. Most notable among this was the campaign launched in An Giang in February 2011. Ecological engineering consists of two components – increasing biodiversity through planting nectar rich flowers and reducing insecticide use to conserve biodiversity.
In Tien Giang, we conducted a pre campaign survey (n = 505) followed by a post campaign survey (n = 504), 12 months after the launch to monitor changes in key attitude, practice and production variables.
Table 1: Pre and post campaign practice and production changes of farmers in Tien Giang province
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There were no significant changes in farmers’ agronomic practices, except for their insecticide use. There was a 12% reduction in insecticide sprays between pre and post campaign and first sprays were delayed from 35.5 to 38.0 days after sowing. The proportion of farmers who did not apply any insecticides at all increased from 3.2% in pre campaign to 9.9% in post campaign surveys respectively. Yields were slightly higher (about 1%) in the post-campaign survey but not significant.
Table 2: Pre and post campaign changes in farmers’ belief attitudes towards biodiversity conservation and ecological engineering in Tieng Giang province. Mean ranks in Mann Whitney Test
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Farmers were asked to state how true the belief statement presented in a Likert scale of 1 to 5, from 1: Definitely not true to 5: Always true. The scores obtained in the pre and post surveys were compared using the non parametric Mann-Whitney Test for two independent samples. Mean ranks were computed and evaluated using Mann-Whitney U. There were significant positive changes between pre and post surveys. After the campaign farmers had more favorable attitudes towards adopting ecological engineering.
The campaign had significant positive effects on farmers’ attitudes towards ecological engineering, both in the growing of flowers on bunds and in reducing insecticide use.