Ho Van Chien, Le Quoc Cuong, Southern Regional Plant Protection Center, Long Dinh, Tien Giang, Vietnam, and
Monina Escalada, Visayas State Unversity, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
The first ecological engineering (EE) experiments in Vietnam were carried out in Cailay district. We collaborated with villagers to populated the bunds surrounding rice fields with nectar flowering plants instead of spraying them with herbicides. We found that natural enemies in the EE field increased significantly. Ecological engineering, known locally as Cong Nghe Sinh Thai” and a new innovative concept in Vietnam was explained by Professor Nguyen Van Huynh when he published a popular article in Nong Ngiep, a local agricultural newspaper. The EE initiative was launched by vice minister Dr Bui Ba Bong in 2011 and to further upscale EE, An Giang province also launched a campaign with a public parade. Vinh Long province developed an Ecological Engineering TV series that was on air twice a week for 40 weeks.
The Southern Regional Plant Protection Center organized a Conference and was attended by 90 plant protection officials from 22 provincial plant protection centers and university professors in the Mekong to further promote EE as a sustainable way to manage rice pests. The Conference was covered by Tienphong news. At the Conference Mr Le Quoc Cuong presented recent data showing more than 7800 farmers are now practicing EE and had significantly reduced insecticide use to one or no insecticide spray a season. No brown plantopper outbreaks have been reported from these sites in the last 3 years. A total of 46,000 leaflets, 12,100 posters and 15 roadside billboards have been distributed and TV and radio broadcast EE 129 times. On 8 March 2012 the “ Women in EE” program was launched in My Tho. EE demo sites are now being carried out in 4 other provinces.
In his concluding remarks, Dr K.L Heong alluded to five important challenges that plant protection services will face in the foreseeable future:
- Farmers have low or NO productivity gain from insecticide use.
- Insecticides do more harm to the rice ecosystem and cause BPH problems.
- Insecticides are neurotoxic to bees causing brain damages. They do the same to humans as sub-lethal doses cause brain damage diseases, such as Alzheimers, Parkinson’s. ADHD, low IQ and autism. The recent poisoning of 25 children in India is an important reminder. Check news items http://goo.gl/kfHYj http://goo.gl/3luZa
- Ecological engineering also means reducing insecticides to conserve ecosystem services.
- Plant protection officials must protect farmers from unnecessary insecticide use, wasting money, exposing themselves and their children to health issues and damaging the environment. Plant protection systems need reform and restructure to modernize.
More on child victims of pesticide poisoning