Extreme weather events can cause changes in ecosystem balance that can disrupt ecosystem services and favor crop pest development resulting in heavy crop losses and misuse of pesticides. However, links between climate change and pest scenarios and adaptation strategies are not well known. To explore the impact of climate change on crop pests and diseases and adaptation strategies, a workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on 30 July to 1 August 2014.
Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, Regional Program Leader, CGIAR-CCAFS, Dr. Wai Hong Loke, Regional Director, CABI Southeast Asia, and D. Nguyen Xuan Hong, Director-General, Plant Protection Department, MARD, Vietnam, officiated the opening. Twenty-two participants from China (1), Germany (2), Korea (1), Thailand (5), Malaysia (3), Cambodia (1), Philippines (3), and Vietnam (6) presented and discussed climate change scenarios and their impact on pest and disease development in food crops in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), process to assess the impact of climate change induced pests and diseases on major food crops in the GMS region, process for developing adaptation strategies that will reduce the vulnerability of major food crop systems to losses due to pests and diseases, and a plan for implementation of workshop recommendations.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Sebastian stressed that climate is a significant driver of pest population dynamics, thus adaptive management strategies will be required to cope with the altered status of pests and diseases in the face of climate change. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hong noted that climate change has put the livelihoods of the rural poor at risk. He suggested 3 ways to minimize climate change: 1) reduce carbon emissions by using less, 2) reduce chemical pesticide by using environmentally friendly bio-control agents, and 3) reduce emissions through sequestration. For prevention to succeed, he urged the agriculture sector to work together in research by sharing information and building networks.
Participants also visited Tan Hoi Dong village, Chau Thanh district, Tien Giang province to observe the practice of ecological engineering by farmers growing nectar-rich flowering plants on the buds, and stopping their insecticide use during early crop stages. The flowers provide shelter, nectar, pollen and serve as alternative hosts for natural enemies.
Click here for workshop report.