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Annals of Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture. 2007.9:209-215.


ABSTRACT Integrated Pest Management-Farmer Field School (IPM-FFS) approach is based on farmer’s participationas against the conventional technology transfer based on the top down approach. IPM-FFS facilitates experiential learning and enhances decision making capabilities to varying situations. 14 IPM programs on paddy have been already conducted in Vavuniya district since 1997. A survey was done to study the effects of IPM-FFS approach on individual, social, management and economic aspects. Stratified random sampling design was adopted to select farmers and interviewed them with the help of semi structured questionnaires. More than 80% of farmers wanted to participate at FFS to get specific knowledge on crop management practices. After the FFS, all of them additionally gained some benefits which resulted in positive impacts on individual, social, management and economic aspects. Ability of using integrated methods of pest control, identifying pest and diseases, using organic manure and doing regular crop inspections were the major individual gains for more than 50% farmers. Increased participation of women in community based organizations and activities, group actions against common needs and problems and increased links with government and non-government agencies were reported as major social benefits by more than 50% farmers. Total inputs in cost/ac was reduced by 20.4% and average yield/ac increased by 12.5% resulting in higher profits for IPM farmers. Use of insecticides and fungicides were reduced by 81% and 28% respectively at IPM sites. Difficulties in regular crop inspection in larger extents, intensive use of chemicals by neighboring farmers, non adoption of decisions arrived at cultivation meetings were the major problems encounted by IPM farmers. Majority of the IPM farmers suggested pre seasonal refresher trainings, IPM training for other farmers and proper implementation of cultivating meeting decisions for sustaining the benefits of IPM-FFS in the district. KEYWORDS: IPM-FFS, Message based technology transfer, Participatory approach, Top down approach.

INTRODUCTION Integrated Pest Management (IPM) simply refers to integration of cultural, physical, biological and chemical control methods to manage pest population (Pontius, 2001). IPM on rice was first implemented in Sri Lanka using the technology transfer model in the form of Training and Visit (T and V) extension system in 1984. Extension message based technology was transferred to farmers by contact farmers through fortnightly training using small demonstration plots (Abeyawardena, 1987). This model did not yield expected outcome under a complex and dynamic situation (Berg et al., 2002). In 1995, Participatory IPM using Farmer Field School (FFS) was evolved in Sri Lanka replacing message based approach. IPM-FFS concept was found to


be successful under complex and various rice ecosystems in Indonesia and Philippines (Berg et al., 2002). Farmer field school is a weekly gathering of a group of farmers and their facilitator to learn to observe and understand the dynamics of crop ecosystem. When they meet once a week in the field, instead of listening to lecture or watching demonstration, these farmers observe, record and discuss what is happening in their own fields from the time of planting to the time of harvest. This discovery learning process generates a deep understanding of ecological concepts and their practical applications. IPM-FFS approach aims to facilitate farmers to develop an outlook, competence, self-confidence, self reliance and a sense of responsibility that help to ensure achievement of dependence free, sustainable and community effort that pave the way for progress and development (Gunawardena, 1999). FFS approach has proved to be effective in improving the capacity of farmers to manage rice pests through natural enemies while minimizing the heavy use of pesticides (Jayasundara, 2006). IPM FFS on rice was first introduced to Vavuniya District in 1996. Paddy is the dominant crop and cultivated in 30% of the total agriculture lands (Administrative Report, 2003). Since the introduction of IPM-FFS, fourteen IPM-FFS programs funded by FAO have already been conducted during both maha and yala seasons in the district. However, no attempts have so far been made to assess the effects of IPM–FFS in the Vavuniya district. This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of IPM-FFS on rice in enabling the participants to improve their own, social and economic conditions in the Vavuniya district. MATERIALS AND METHODS A combination of the following methods was used to study the effects of IPM-FFS namely individual interviews, key informant interviews and extraction of secondary information from the records. Semi structured questionnaires were designed to collect relevant data. Data related to individual, social and economic achievements as well as agronomic practices adopted by farmers were gathered. Farmers were given time and necessary inputs to recall data and information from the previous seasons. Cross checking was also done with records and registers available at the department and non IPM sites. The Vavuniya district has already been divided into nine AI Ranges coming under two AO segments. IPM–FFS were conducted only in six AI ranges but not in equal number. Hence, stratified random sampling design was used to select respondents. Farmers were randomly selected from IPM-FFS conducted in six AI ranges using a list consisting of names and address of the IPM participants prepared by the range AII. 30 IPM trained farmers were randomly selected for the study out of 224 trained farmers. 20 non IPM farmers were also randomly selected to make comparisons on certain parameters. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the gathered data. Frequency counts, percentages and means were used to interpret the analyzed data.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS Pre-FFS situation The participants were requested to recall what they thought or felt before attending the FFS session (Table 1). Table 1. Farmer expectations before participating at IPM-FFS. Perception % farmers (n=30) To get agricultural knowledge To know how to reduce the cost of production and increase the yield To learn about pest and diseases control To listen to something interesting

67 43 33 23

Majority of the farmers wanted to know specific messages in relation to paddy cultivation, delivered through farmer training classes and demonstrations. This indicates that top down technology transfer was prominent and familiar with farmers in the study area. No one was able to expect some other benefits of participatory approach. Post IPM-FFS Situation Participants were requested to mention about benefits gained after attending IPM–FFS as indicated in Table 2. Table 2. Individual benefits gained from t IPM-FFS. Benefits Reduction of pesticides usage Integrated methods for pest management Identification of pest and diseases Use of organic manure Timely fertilizer application Regular crop inspection Reduce cost of cultivation Increase yield Application of IPM method for other crops

% of farmers (n=30) 76 70 56 50 50 50 46 43 40

More than 50% of the IPM participants were able to to identify pest and diseases, use organic manure, reduce pesticides usage, adopt combined methods for pest management and regular crop monitoring. Reduction in the total cost of cultivation and increased yields were also individually achieved by the participants. The individual benefits thus derived can be referred to as gain in knowledge and skills in farming activities as a


result of attending IPM-FFS. Enhanced capacity and capability of the IPM participants as a result of discovery and experiential learning made them dependent free and helped to manage some situations in farming. This approach is a good starting point for the process of rational decision making by farmers. Social benefits gained from the IPM-FFS There are several and important social benefits mentioned by IPM farmers which are given in Table 3. Table 3. Social benefits gained from the IPM-FFS. Benefits Increased participation of villagers in community based organizations and their activities Reduction on agrochemical usage Increased link to GOs and NGOs Increased participation of women in agriculture and community activities Taking community responsibilities Mutual corporation and group actions against common needs and problems

% farmers (n=30) 70 70 60 56 40 50

More than 50% of IPM farmers reported increased participation of women in agriculture and community based organizations and link to government and non government agencies, take community responsibility as well as corporation and group actions as social gains. It is true that majority of the active members of the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are IPM trained farmers. IPM-FFS enabled participants to work in groups, develop harmony and goodwill in groups. Group members are enthused to get together to discuss matters of mutual interest, share information and help each other. Hence it can be said that FFS has generated a certain level of community sprit and made the participants to recognize the value of collective action. This provides new opportunities for social cohesion and integration. This trend is important particularly in the context of what is going on at present in our rural societies in the study area. Increased contacts with GOs and NGOs by villagers enhance community development as a whole. Agronomic benefits of IPM-FFS Improved management practices resulted from the IPM-FFS are given in the Table 4.


Table 4. Agronomic benefits from the IPM–FFS. Agronomic practices Non IPM (n=20) Seed rate - kg/ac Fertilizer application - kg/ac Insecticides - times/season Fungicides - times/season Herbicides - times/season

66 190 2.67 0.35 1.21

IPM (n=30) 44 150 0.5 0.25 1.1

The above table shows some remarkable changes occurred in the management practices as a result of attending IPM-FFS. Seed rate was decreased by 33% at IPM sites. Because, IPM training has encouraged farmers to use quality seed paddy to ensure good germination. IPM farmers used lower dosage of chemical fertilizers when compared to non-IPM farmers mainly due the use of organic manures. Incorporation of organic matter improves soil properties and fertility. IPM-FFS had a profound effect on the number of times of pesticide applications. On average, use of insecticides and fungicides were reduced by 81% and 28% respectively in the IPM sites. Herbicide use was not much influenced by the IPM training. This indicates that IPM and non IPM farmers still rely on chemicals for weed control. Reduction on pesticide use has a positive impact on cost of production, environment and health of people. Economic benefits from IPM-FFS Economic benefits of the IPM-FFS is analyzed and given in the Table 5. Table 5. Economic benefits from the IPM-FFS. Parameter Non IPM (n=20) Seed - (Rs) Organic manure - (Rs) Weedecides - (Rs) Inorganic Fertilizer - (Rs) Pesticides - (Rs) Total input costs - (Rs) Yield - mt/ac Selling price – (Rs/kg) Return/ac

1650.00 1850.00 3800.00 2500.00 9800.00 1.6 16.00 25600.00

IPM(n=30) 1100.00 1000.00 1850.00 3050.00 800.00 7800.00 1.8 16.00 28800.00

Even though, there is an additional cost of organic manure at IPM sits, the total input costs were lower when compare to Non-IPM sites as a result of decreased costs for seed paddy, inorganic fertilizer and pesticides. The reduction on pesticides, seeds, and inorganic fertilizers contributed 20% to total input indicating a saving for IPM farmers. Average yield/ac was increased by 12.5% at IPM sites. Adoption of improved package of practices


could be attributed for increased yields. Reduction on the total input costs and increase in average yield/ac at IPM sites, substantially result higher profits for IPM farmers than non IPM farmers. Problems for continuous adoption of IPM practices Problems encounted by IPM farmers for the continuous adoption of IPM methods is given in the Table 6. Table 6. Problems encountered by IPM farmers for continuous adoption of IPM. Problems % farmers(n=30) Non adoption of decisions taken at cultivation meeting Intensive use of chemicals by neighbor farmers Difficulties in crop monitoring for larger extent

76 56 40

Heavy use of agrochemicals and non adoption of cultivation meeting decisions were the major problems encountered by the IPM farmers for continuous adoption of IPM practices. Chemical use in neighboring fields may result in a sudden pest and disease outbreak as toxic chemicals used by other farmers destroy natural pest enemies as well (Pontius, 2001). Hence neighboring farmers should also be trained on IPM practices. Adherence to decisions in relation to time of cultivation, clearing of irrigation channels and varieties of paddy taken at the cultivation meeting should be correctly implemented in the yaya in order to grow a healthy crop as one of the basic principles of IPM concepts (Pontius, 2001). Needs for the continuous adoption of IPM practice Requirements suggested by IPM farmers for the continuous adoption of IPM principles are given in the Table 7. Table 7. Needs for the continuous adoption of IPM practices. Needs % farmers (n=30) Adoption of cultivation meeting decision IPM training for other farmers in the yaya Pre seasonal refresher training programs Increases the availability of neem products

70 60 75 50

Majority of the IPM participants suggested proper adoption of cultivation meeting decisions, IPM training for other farmers and pre seasonal refresher trainings for them in order to continue the IPM practices in the district. Regular refresher trainings provide opportunities to discuss the problems faced in the previous season, introduce new findings and techniques and alert farmers about possible pest and diseases outbreak. Increasing the


access to natural pesticides such as neem products will enhance farmers to use such products before they go for agro chemicals. CONCLUSIONS Participatory IPM through FFS was found to be effective in terms of individual, social and economic aspects particularly to reduce costs and increase income in the district. Enhanced capability of participant made them to be independent and good decision makers on various aspects. IPMFFS generated social cohesion and community sprit among villagers. Increased access to Government Organizations and Non-Government Organizations and increased participation of women in community activities enhances village and community development. Adoption of improved package of practices resulted in increased yield and return. Insecticides use was reduced by 81% at IPM sites. Refresher trainings, IPM training for other farmers and proper implementation of cultivation meeting decisions are important to sustain the benefits of IPM-FFS in the district. REFERENCES Abeyawardena, P. 1987. IPC technology reaching the small farmers through T and V group approach in Sri Lanka, Department of Agriculture, Peradenya, Sri Lanka. Administration Report, 2003. Department of Agriculture, Station Road, Vavuniya. Berg, H., H. Senareth and L. Amarasinghe. 2002. Participatory IPM in Sri Lanka: A Broad scale and an In-Depth Impact Analysis, FAO Programme for Community IPM in Asia, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Gunawadena, I.M. 1999. An Impact study of the Integrated Pest Management Program in Sri Lanka, Unpublished Report, FAO Colombo. Jayasundara, P.U.M. 2006. Farmer Participatory Training Approach to Integrated Pest and Vector Management, Annals of Sri Lanka, Department of Agriculture. 8, 386-390. Pontius, J., R. Dilts and A. Bartlett. 2001. From farmers field school to community IPM: Ten years of IPM training in Asia, FAO program for community IPM in Asia.

Evaluation of the effects of ipm ffs approach on individual, social, agronomic and economic conditio