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Project Proposal:

Farmer Field Schools for SE Asia

Two-Year Workplan


Full Project Proposal


Ecologically Based Pest Management:

A new paradigm for crop protection.



Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques for crop protection have entered a new era as plant protection specialists use an evolving generation of materials and strategies that specifically target insect pests while potentially preserving the natural complex of beneficial predators and parasites that control pests. When a program stresses the maintenance and enhancement of biological controls over the application of chemicals it might be described as Ecologically Based Pest Management or EBPM. In choosing an ecologically based management strategy it is necessary to have a thorough knowledge of crop pests and insects or mites that prey on them. With the proliferation of internet sites such as the Biocontrol Network, the Global Crop Protection Federation, the University of California IPM Project and many others, it iSEAsia mite photo.gif (54852 bytes)s possible for anyone to access detailed information on insect morphology, damage, seasonal development and management techniques. Widespread use of computers, inexpensive computer microscopes and worldwide access to the internet also means that a crop protection specialist in any country can photograph an insect or mite and send that picture to an entomologist half a world away for identification. It is the goal of this project to bring these new crop protection tools and concepts to IPM trainers in SE Asia.                                       


                                        Look at the microscope

Origins of IPM

In 1964 a historical research project began when entomologists from 13 states and two U.S. territories began participating in a regional research project focused on using predators and parasites for the control of insect and mite pests. Its warlike title was Project W-84(1). By 1969, one of the researchers, Deke Everett, had formulated a biologically based pest control plan called, "The Five Features of IPM" that became a foundation for future pest control strategies. An international conference held at North Carolina State University the following year "Concepts of Pest Management" stressed the ecological and economic principles in selecting and integrating methods of pest control.


Early Development

In Brazil four years later an extremely successful program of insect pest control for soybeans was instituted using three basic concepts of IPM, scouting for pest damage, determination of economic thresholds and using minimum quantities of environmentally disruptive pesticides.(2) And by the year 1979 the concepts of IPM were brought into wider use by the Bio-Integral Resource Center in Berkeley, California which began publishing the "IPM Practitioner" concurrently with the University of California publication "Biological Control and Insect Pest Management."


Recent Developments

The use of natural enemies has a long history. The ancient Chinese used ants as effective predators of many citrus pests. Today the Chinese use highly innovative yet technologically simple processes that capitalizes on their strong labor force (3) .

Many lessons on the development of IPM programs have been learned over the years in the Asian region which are summarized by Peter Ooi, in the 1991 proceedings of the Conference on Integrated Pest Management in the Asia-Pacific Region(2). At that conference fifty-two delegates and twenty observers from twenty-one countries presented reports on the status of IPM in the region. Three important lessons were learned from past experience according to conference consultant Dr.G.S Lim . 1. "Research on IPM must involve extension workers and farmers"; 2. "To emphasize biological control which is the core of insect IPM. Its absence or disruption when present, is usually the main reason for a continuous insect problem"; and. 3. "To give emphasis to IPM extension and IPM transfer so that IPM does not remain only at the level of research."

It is these three lessons, based on the combined experience of many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which so closely match the concepts of Ecologically Based Pest Management that is the core philosophy guiding the Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology and this training project. The Institute’s mission is to develop and offer learning opportunities that promote ecologically-based pest management starting with practical strategies that restore biodiversity in soil and aerial food webs. They work closely with farmers and landscapers to monitor and manage habitats so that beneficial organisms take care of pests and diseases.



Crop protection practices are determined by a variety of factors. On the broader level of country or state, governmental policies may provide resources such as subsidized chemicals, farm extension staff and training, or restrictions on importation of certain pesticide formulations due either to lack of efficacy research or perhaps concerns about potential hazards. On a local level economics and infrastructure combine to promote or limit the marketing of products available to end users. Shop owners in the developing world carry products based on profitability, availability, historical use and, at times, the results of their own experimentation which forms the basis of chemical recommendations in the absence of formal research trials and extension services . Finally, there are the daily in-field decisions made by individual farmers based on historical use, input from neighbors and extension personnel, affordability of products or practices, individual safety considerations, and a real concern for potential losses from pests and disease. Access to information and products are what ultimately determine the final decision making process.


The Conventional IPM Decision Process

With incomplete knowledge of a pest and the potential for crop damage, the fear of crop loss is increased and it is more likely that a broad spectrum chemical pesticide will be selected for application so that the pest, whatever the species might be, is likely to be killed. Such materials kill not only the pest species but also many other beneficial organisms that normally control a variety of potential pests living in open fields. The resulting situation is that the crop is biologically unprotected once the chemical looses strength. Pests, which may be somewhat resistant to the applied chemical from long histories of chemical exposure, can resurge in strength without the limits of egg, larval and adult predation that beneficials afford where present and allowed to build in numbers throughout the cropping season.

In states like California the Department of Pesticide Regulation has set a course to reduce the use of many hazardous chemicals used in crop protection. This long range plan has gone hand-in-hand with the development of improved integrated pest management tools and information available to farmers and crop protection specialists through the University of California and a national network of regional IPM programs.

At the same time the agricultural industry has invested in the research necessary to bring new classes of pest control products to market, often less hazardous to handlers and the environment while targeting specific pests or classes of pests.

The situation in SE Asia is less clear. Data on pesticide availability from Cambodia(5) shows 45% of the insecticides available are organophosphate formulations and more than 85% are broad spectrum coming from carbamate, pyrethroid, organochlorine and organophosphate chemical groups. Products less damaging to the beneficial insect and mite complex are also available in small numbers. Three Insect Growth Regulators (IGR’s) were listed as well as two popular biopesticides Bt and NPV. Selection of insecticides is critical with these products to minimize pesticide resistance, making use of selective IGR’s and biopesticides whenever possible.


The EBPM Decision Process

"Farmers' practices are based on what they understand." (1)

When farmers or crop advisors intimately know an insect or mite pest and the community of associated predators and parasites that make up the local biological complex it is possible for them to choose chemical, cultural, biological, or a combination of control practices that specifically targets a particular pest. When chemical pesticides are deemed appropriate it is likely there are, in many cases, products available that will control the pest with minimal damage to beneficial species. This decision allows natural beneficials to build in strength not only controlling the target pest but also many other potential pests naturally held in check by native predators and parasitoids. This project connects IPM trainers with timely information and expertise so that management decisions can be made on a weekly basis and they can more effectively manage pests and observe the activity of beneficials during the training process. Confidence in the decision process is key to transitioning from conventional IPM to Ecologically Based Pest Management.



There are many sectors involved in IPM training in SE Asia. The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) works to strengthen the National Agricultural Research Stations in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand.

The FAO "Community IPM Project" in Cambodia seeks to equip farmers with the information and training necessary to make pest specific decisions which avoid the use of broad spectrum insecticides that damage the natural biological control complex. Non-profit organizations (NGO’s) practice with differing techniques reflecting their working philosophy. Many are lead by religious beliefs while others mix human rights, community rights, Trade & GATT, or biodiversity issues in their activities. Some target local markets and others wholesalers covering large urban areas. (6)

Cooperators in the training process will be selected from operational organizations presently involved in the training farmers or farm extension workers be they governmental, non-governmental, formal or non-formal institutions.


Project Goals

  1. Provide trainers and extension staff in SE Asia with training materials, tools and access to information through the internet so that they can better understand and teach IPM stressing the ecological basis for insect pest management practices.
  2. Facilitate the adoption of information technology services that will connect trainers and farmers with the expertise and information necessary to confidently transition away from chemically based practices and towards biologically-based pest management decisions.
  3. Work cooperatively with other organizations and interested parties to promote the goals of integrated pest management, to provide educational opportunities for trainers, and to demonstrate the benefits of habitat management in maintaining native beneficial insect and mite diversity.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of farmer field schools in assisting farmers to achieve production of economical, high quality crops while reducing their reliance on
  5. chemical sprays that may present health hazards for the farmer and the local environment.


Goal #1

Provide trainers and extension staff in SE Asia with training materials, tools and access to information so that they can better understand and teach IPM stressing an ecological basis for insect pest management practices.


  1. Develop curricula to conduct training of trainers (TOT) classes to teach the "Five Features of IPM" .
  2. Generate training materials such as insect and plant photo ID galleries and preserved insect samples to support the Farmer Field School class emphasis on a biological basis for insect pest management.
  3. Conduct TOT’s with cooperating partner staff to transfer the information and techniques for conducting successful Farmer Field School classes involving integrated pest management practices.
  4. Provide a D-Vac vacuum insect sampler and training in its use so that proper insect samples can be taken and used to monitor the entire insect complex associated with each crop and associated habitats.

Goal #2

Facilitate the adoption of information technology services that will connect trainers and farmers with the expertise and information necessary to confidently transition away from chemically intensive practices and towards biologically-based pest management decisions.


  1. Instruct trainers on the use of the internet for locating and downloading information pertaining to IPM, biological control, chemical databases, institutions, commercial producers and periodicals related to control of insect pests in agricultural crops.
  2. Guarantee adequate internet access through provision of computer equipment upgrades and server contracts as necessary for the training staff.
  3. Collect samples of the insect complex on key crops selected by local cooperators for identification by Institute entomologists and archiving for future reference.


Goal #3

Work cooperatively with other organizations and interested parties to promote the goals of biologically intensive pest management, to provide educational opportunities for trainers, and to demonstrate the benefits of habitat management in maintaining native beneficial insect and mite diversity.


  1. Survey local SE Asian organizations currently involved in the training of farmers to determine if concepts in the Five Features of IPM can be effectively taught and supported.
  2. Determine training needs of the cooperating agency staff as related to implementation of an ecologically based pest management curriculum.
  3. Establish a working relationship with the target organization(s) so that the human and physical resources of the project staff and Dietrick Institute can be can be effectively utilized by the in-country cooperating agency.
  4. Develop a network of biocontrol practitioners, researchers, extension staff, trainers and agronomists through use of the internet to support the field school trainers and participants.


Goal #4

Evaluate the effectiveness of farmer field schools and the concepts of EBPM in assisting farmers to achieve production of economical, high quality crops while reducing their reliance on chemical sprays.


  1. Conduct a baseline survey of farmer knowledge regarding IPM concepts, availability of less toxic pesticide products, and desire to change from present crop protection practices.
  2. Create an archive of insect samples from farmer field school training classes to document the changes in insect populations that result from ecologically based pest management decisions over the period of transition towards EBPM.
  3. Conduct annual evaluations of the training process with reference to the number of participants trained and follow-up field visits to track farmer concerns and practices for a period of at least three years, the time necessary for re-establishing native species of beneficial insects and mites in the absence of disrupting chemical sprays.


Work Plans and Methods

First Year

A two year timetable is included as Attachment I. Initial surveys, needs assessments and networking in goals one and three begin in January, 2000 using internet searches and email networking. The project coordinator will contact various organizations in Thailand and Cambodia to locate potential partners for support of local farmer field schools. Computer equipment, visual aids and insect samples for class use will be prepared for transport to Thailand for demonstration at the first meetings with potential partners in December.

A steering committee of professional trainers, educators, entomologists and development specialists will be formed to support project activities and curriculum development. This core group will be broadened by internet outreach activities of the project coordinator to include training groups, information specialists, and institutional support organizations.

In December of 2000 the project coordinator will fly to Thailand and Cambodia for a week of meetings with interested partners. Sample instructional materials, computer equipment upgrades and insect vacuum equipment will be demonstrated. A baseline survey form will be finalized and prepared for implementation. Insect samples from various crops will be collected using the D-Vac insect sampler and prepared for return to the United States for evaluation by entomologists. Representative samples to be used in the training of farmers will be prepared and shipped back to local partners while remaining insect samples are catalogued for archiving at the Dietrick Institute.

Curriculum design will be discussed at the December meeting and drafts prepared by the project coordinator for delivery to cooperating partners in July of 2001. A survey of farmer practices and knowledge of IPM will be drafted in the September for review by committee members and delivered to Cambodia for implementation in December, 2000.

Materials for collection of insect samples and protocols for sampling will be completed prior to the December, 2000 trip following guidelines of the entomological staff at Rincon-Vitova Insectaries.


Second Year

Based on meetings with cooperators in December of 2000 the project coordinator will draft curricula for future TOT’s to be implemented in-country by local trainers for the benefit of farmer groups. The baseline survey conducted in December will be analyzed in early 2001 and an annual report will be written for submission to the Dietrick Institute. Project committee members will be asked to evaluate the activities conducted during the first year and feedback will be used to develop or modify curricula, training needs and materials, professional support and internet access requirements.

The focus of activities in 2001 will be the support of trainers in Cambodia via the internet, connecting them with the expertise of a consulting entomologist in Honduras (Luis Vasquez), senior entomologist Everett Dietrick at Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., the project coordinator (a licensed pest control advisor), and the professional staff at the Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology. Using this network we will suggest long-term strategies for trainers to use in addressing insect and disease problems in ways that maintain or enhance the biological diversity of their cropping systems for sustainable production.


Description of those involved in the project:

Steering Committee:Steering Committee:  

Sara Hanscome - Education Coordinator, Bell Gardens, Valley Center, California

C. Dean Piper, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus, Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture, California State University San Luis Obispo, California

Jennifer Weber – Pesticide Educator, UC Statewide IPM Project, University of California, Davis.

Michael Winn – Headmaster, Patterson Academy, Lompoc, California.


Consulting Entomologists:

Everett J. Dietrick – Senior Entomologist, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., Ventura, California.

Luis Armando Vasquez, Ph.D. – Entomologist, Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA).


Project Coordinator:

David A. Loring is a licensed agricultural pest control advisor specializing in the use of biocontrols in landscape maintenance.  He has five years overseas experience, two years as an agronomist in Cambodia working at the national vegetable seed station and three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand with the Land Development Department.  He received a Bachelors in Soil Science from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California in 1977.


1. Biological Control in the Western United States. Univ. of California #3361. 1995

2. Integrated Pest Management in the Asia-Pacific Region. P.A.C. Ooi, et al. 1991

3. Biological Control: Approaches and Applications. David B. Orr. University of Minnesota file download 3-12-00


5. List of Pesticides Available in Kandal and Phnom Penh. Yech Polo, FAO Community IPM Project, Cambodia.

6. Personal communicae: Nara K, Complex Food


 Two-Year Workplan - 2000 and 2001
Ecologically Based Pest Management: A new paradigm for crop protection

Year 2000

Year 2001










1. Develop curricula

networking and research


consultation & development


2. Prepare training materials



drafting & writing


3. Conduct TOT

TOT Cambodia

TOT Thailand

4. Internet instruction


Cambodia & Thailand

5. Provide internet access


cost analysis



6. D-Vac instruction

Cambodia & Thailand

7. Collect insect samples


Cambodia & Thailand

8. Survey of organizations

networking via internet

selection of potential partners

renew survey

9. Determine training needs




10. Establish working relationships

networking via internet

ongoing updates and communications

11. Develop professional network

contact and discussion

establish committee members

12. Baseline survey



13. Prepare insect archive

collect samples

identification and storage

14. Annual evaluations

prepare format

conduct evaluation