Nguyen Van Toan, An Giang Plant Protection Sub Department, Long Xuyen, Vietnam
Ho Van Chien, Southern Regional Plant Protection Center, Long Dinh, Vietnam
M.M. Escalada, Visayas State University, Philippines
Vice Minister, Dr Bui Ba Bong’s official launching of the Ecological Engineering Initiative in 2010, An Giang province developed its own launching of ecological engineering with a special slogan “Ruong Lua Bo Hoa” (rice fields with flowers on bunds). This was launched on March 2011 and some enthusiastic villagers even place sign boards to prevent flowers from being picked by passersby. In Tien Giang where the first campaign was launched post surveys conducted 12 months later showed that farmers decreased their insecticide use by 12% and there were also significant and favorable changes in beliefs by about 12%.
The post campaign survey in An Giang was conducted in March 2012. Table 1 shows changes in some key variables. Farmers’ insecticide sprays decreased by about 5.3% from 3.4 to 3.2 sprays per season. This is on this high side compared with neighboring province, Tien Giang, where farmers’ insecticide use is less than 2 sprays. In both provinces farmers’ applied their first sprays about 38 days after sowing approaching 40 days which indicates that less farmers were spraying their crops in early crop seasons.
Table 1: Pre and post campaign practice and production changes of farmers in An Giang province
[table id=25 /]
We used the same 15 belief statements as in Tien Giang and computed the ecological engineering belief quotient (EEBelQ) as described by Escalada et al. The belief quotient ranges from 0 to 1.0, where 0 indicates complete lacking in belief and 1.0 indicates perfect belief. In the pre campaign belief quotient was 0.649 and this was increased in the post campaign survey to 0.668 – a significant increase of 2.9% (F=6.3 p = 0.012). The belief quotient for Tien Giang was 0.676, comparable to that in An Giang (0.668).
We also computed the belief quotient relating to planthopper control (BPHBelQ) based on 11 belief statements with 0 indicating extreme negative beliefs and 1 indicating perfect positive beliefs. We found that it was strongly correlated with EEBelQ (Pearson’s = 0.413 **). However change in BPHBelQ between pre and post campaign was only slight and not significant (0.575 to 0.585 F=1.02 p = 0.313). Farmers’ insecticide sprays were negatively correlated to both EEBelQ (Pearson’s = 0.132**) and BPHBelQ (Pearson’s = 0.216**). In a regression analysis with farmers’ insecticide use as the dependent variable and two belief quotients as the independent variables we found:
In pre campaign
Number of sprays = 4.26 – 1.34* BPHBelQ – 0.181*EEBelQ
Number of sprays = 4.81 – 1.77* BPHBelQ – 0.876*EEBelQ
It appears that farmers’ sprays are more strongly related to beliefs related to planthopper control than in beliefs related to ecological engineering.
Farmers in An Giang continue to target leaf folders and brown planthoppers in pre and post campaign surveys these 2 pests accounted for 88.9% and 92.9% respectively of all sprays. More than half of these were targeted at leaf folders (54.7% and 53.0% respectively) which have doubtful benefits to farmers as leaf folders have little impact on yield loss. Thus there are lots of opportunities in An Giang to further reduce insecticide use by about 50%. Compared with Tien Giang, insecticide use is relatively high in An Giang, 1.75 compared with 3.19 sprays per season.