K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos Philippines and
Ben Samson, International Rice Research Institute, Vientiane, PDR Laos
The ASEAN (Association of SE Asian Nations) was initiated in 1967 to enhance regional cooperation that evolved into a bloc of nations for peace, economic growth, cooperation and mutual assistance. Among the ASEAN ministerial meetings is the AMAF (ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry) for cooperation in the agriculture sector that started in 1968 especially in food production and supply. The main objective is to formulate and implement regional cooperation activities to enhance the international competitiveness of ASEAN’s food, agriculture and forestry products and strengthen the food security arrangement in the region. The SOM (Senior Officials’ Meeting) -AMAF is the main ASEAN body that oversees the overall ASEAN cooperation in food and agriculture. For implementation various working groups and experts groups reported to the SOM are established.
Planthoppers are becoming threats to the sustainability of rice production in ASEAN and insecticide misuse is the root cause of the persistent outbreaks. In December 2011 FAO, IRRI and ADB organized an International Conference on Threats of Insecticide Misuse in Rice Ecosystems – Exploring Options for Mitigation to address this new threat to rice intensification programs. In the Conference IRRI launched the “Action Plan in Preventing Planthopper Outbreaks”. The plan included actions to increase biodiversity and resilience and actions to regulate and marketing of insecticides. Earlier in 2011 Thailand, with support from the local pesticide association (TABA Thai Agro Business Association), banned cypermethrin an abamectin in their efforts to stop the massive damages by BPH. In an international panel discussion after launching the ban, it developed a series of proposed actions, which include “changes in pesticide regulations, legislations, pesticide classification in the market and licensing of pesticide retailers”.
In the FAO-IRRI workshop on “Rice Planthopper Problems and Insecticide Use – Data and Information Synthesis of Supply Chains, Yield Impacts, Pesticide Use and Misuse” December 14-15, 2011, it was recommended that the threat of insecticide misuse to the sustainability of intensive rice production be discussed at the AMAF via the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM). At the 34th SOM-AMAF 24-29 September 2012, we were presented with a chance to participate in the prep SOM held in Vientiane, PDR Laos. In the presentation, we suggested the following:
- As pests and pesticides are cross border issues, IRRI suggests that ASEAN consider acting collectively, as a bloc, to reduce these threats through policy, structural reforms and harmonization of regulations.
- ASEAN need to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the pesticide marketing and misuse issues.
- ASEAN forms a working group to look into these matters and address the threats.