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1 An effective approach of safe vegetable production: a case of community vegetable integrated pest management in Kunming city, Yunan province, China Puyun Yang 1, Ping Li 1, Elske van de Fliert 2, Xinmei Hu 2 ( 1 National Agro-technical Extension and Service Center, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing , P. R. China, 2 FAO Regional Vegetable IPM Programme in Asia) Abstract Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has emerged as important means of producing safe vegetables by avoiding pesticide residues. This paper describes a case study in small producer system in the Petri-urban areas of Kunming city, Yunnan province on an approach of farmer participatory vegetable community IPM development. The vegetable community IPM development was composted of farmer education, technological development, farmers self organization, alliance building and policy supporting. Its initial development is farmer education through the farmer field school, and then followed by farmer s innovations of new IPM technologies through field observation and field researches, providing new, locally relevant knowledge and non-chemical measures to substitute pesticides. Farmers self organizations, occurred through the sharing of knowledge and new innovations, resulted in collaborative adoption of IPM technologies in the communities. The certification of IPM vegetable products has provided premiums to encourage sustainable adoption of IPM. This case study showed that vegetable community IPM development is an effective approach of safe vegetable production. Key words: Integrated Pest Management, Community, Vegetable, Pesticide residue 1. Introduction Vegetable production in China has increased by more than twice in the last two decades (Yang, 2004). The pesticide application in vegetables also went up very sharply (Bernard et al, 2001; Yang et al, 2002; Yang, 2004; Zhang, 2004). Since wide-spectrum pesticides were regularly used in vegetables, pesticide residue has become a main constraint in vegetable productions in recent years (Yang, 2004; Zhang, 2004). Lots of concerns were raised by trade disputes after China entry to WTO (Yang, 2004; Zhang, 2004), due to 70% rejection cases of the export consignments raised by pesticide residue issues (Yang, 2004; Yang, 2005[2]). Reducing pesticide residues is currently a big challenge for Chinese vegetable farmers. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) was believed to be one of the best solutions to pesticide residue problems in vegetables (Bernard et al, 2001; Zhang, 2004; Yang, 2004; Yang, 2005[2];Fu and Liu, 2006). IPM requires farmers integrated uses of pest 1

2 control methods including variety resistances, cultivation, mechanical control, biological control and chemical control according to their specific field conditions (Lewis et al,1997;wernon, 1999; Bandong et al, 2002; Bentley et al, 2002). It needs farmer s skills in pest monitoring and understanding of pest ecology, and often involves cooperation among farmers for effective implementation (John et al, 2002; Matthew, 1999; Wernon, 1999). In the implementation of vegetable IPM, The current centralized top-down extension approach in China faces difficulties because vegetable farmers owned the land, were small producers, and individual farmer usually makes his/her own decision, such as type(s) of vegetables, and related farming practices. The farming ecological systems are especially diversified in terms of the range of crops, cultivation practices and cropping patterns in vegetable production. Pest management decision-making has thus become much more complex. To minimize risks, a natural reaction for most vegetable farmers is to rely on calendar and preventive spraying with wide spectrum chemical pesticides (Fu and Liu, 2006; Yang et al, 2002; Zhang, 2004;Yang, 2005[1]). The petri-urban areas of Kunming city is the largest vegetable producing district in Yunnan province, with an acreage of about 67,000 ha in 2002 (Fu and Liu, 2006). Major vegetables produced are Chinese cabbage, parsley, cabbage, leek, chili, sugar pea, tomato, garlic, lettuce, onion, and lotus (Fu and Liu, 2006). Vegetable farmers in the petri-urban areas of Kunming city are typically small producers with an average vegetable area of less than 0.5 ha/household (Fu and Liu, 2006). Currently, there are estimated to be 120,000 small-producer vegetable farms in the petri-urban areas of Kunming city. Commercial vegetable producings are dominant in this area, over 64% vegetables produced are transported to other parts of China and even exported to other countries (e.g. Japan, Korea, Singapore) (Fu and Liu, 2006). Pesticide residues used to impede sustainable developments of vegetable production. With the introduction of the FAO-supported vegetable IPM program in Kunming in 2002, a shift was made in the implementation of a farmer-led vegetable IPM through farmer field schools (FFS). Such an approach has been found to be highly effective for solving pesticide residue problems in vegetable productions in Kunming. In this paper, we explain the conceptual framework of the farmer-led vegetable community IPM, analyze the features of the vegetable community IPM in Kunming and the effectiveness of community IPM in solving pesticide residue problems in vegetable production. We conclude with reflections on the development of community IPM and policy implications for safe vegetable productions. 2. The conceptual framework of vegetable community IPM Vegetable Community IPM starts with the FFS. FFS is a form of adult education; it empowers farmers through the participatory and non-formal education process. Essentially, FFS is a learner centered discovery process that seeks to empower farmers to solve living problems by engaging farmers in participation, self-confidence, dialogue, joint decision-making and self-determination. Results of 2

3 most previous impact studies indicated that FFS is very effective in implementing IPM in small holder cropping systems, because that IPM in small holder cropping system is highly dependent on local context, it often requires farmers to improve their analytical skills and expertise on decision makings (John et al, 2002; van den Berg, 2004; van den Berg et al, 2004). To develop farmer expertise, learner centered discovery education process is needed for that there seems to be no shortcut alternatives in small holder farming systems (Ooi, 1996; van den Berg, 2004). The idea of Community IPM means to implement IPM from the angle of community development, and combine elements of technological development, adult education, farmers organization, alliance building and policy supporting (John et al, 2002; van den Berg, 2004; Ooi, 1996). Community IPM is a strategic approach to institutionalize IPM at the community level (John et al, 2002; van den Berg, 2004), and can be identified as at least having 5 core aspects: (i) Ownership of IPM by farmers, (ii) common IPM goal, rules and sanctions, (iii) social connectedness in networks and group, (iv) self-managing and technical services for sustainable IPM, and (v) supporting policies for IPM. The importance of community IPM for safe vegetable production for the small holders reflected from social connectedness and its effects on eliminating vegetable pesticide residues and other pollutions (Fu and Liu, 2006; Wu and Pretty, 2004). In addition to avoiding pesticide residues, safe vegetable production requires farmers joint actions in the community to keep clean irrigation resources, pollution-free fields and properly handling of living garbage. Vegetable community IPM is intended to create and strengthen social connectedness by supporting farmers own efforts to build associations and networks towards safe vegetable production. 3. The case study of Gaodeng village a vegetable IPM community 3.1. Getting start: Training vegetable farmers through FFS Gaodeng village is located about 40 kilometers southwest Kunming, there are 357 farmer households with a population of about 1480 in The primary source of income for people in Gaocheng village is vegetable production. There are hectares of irrigated fields in Gaodeng village. There is a continuous supply of irrigation, which allows for two seasons or three seasons of vegetable productions a year round. Normally, the winter-spring season of vegetables are Chinese cabbage, parsley, sugar pea, tomato, lettuce, onion, and Summer-Autumn season vegetables are cabbage, leek, chili, garlic, lotus. The first vegetable FFS funded by FAO was conducted in Chinese cabbage in the winter-spring season of 2002, a total of 3 vegetable FFSs (On in Chinese cabbage, one in tomato and one in sugar peas) had been conducted in 2002, Kunming city funded 2 of them. A critical mass of 92 farmers had been trained in Gaocheng villages. 3

4 The process of organising vegetable FFS starts with a participatory needs and opportunity assessment (PNOA) meeting with village leaders and the farmers. The farmer-training model is explained so that the village community knows about the activities and what to expect. For the selection of the farmer participants, an open process involving the entire farming community is employed. The vegetable FFS normally consists of 30 farmers who meet one morning every week for the entire cropping period. Extension workers who have been trained for that purpose in vegetable Training of facilitators (TOF) facilitate the FFS, using non-formal education and adult training methods. During the meetings, farmers work in small groups of 4-5 to ensure that the ideas of each farmer are shared, with the uniqueness of each participant easily accepted. Activities in the FFS are designed to respond to the immediate needs of the participating farmers growing their vegetables. Pesticide residue problems were created from farmers irrational use of pesticides, the underpin reasons were that farmers either did not understand negative consequences of pesticides, or did not know right pest management technologies (e.g. IPM). The vegetable FFS approach aiming to strengthen the ecological basis of IPM reduced farmers reliance on pesticides and corrected farmers inappropriate use of pesticides. Learning objectives for the curriculum of the vegetable FFS were based on farmer surveys, which were carried out by the facilitators to understand vegetable farmers perceptions and knowledge on pest management, in particular pesticide applications. The pesticide residue issues were addressed in the whole process of training. In the vegetable FFSs, exercises or experiments were designed in the curricula to solve farmer s pesticide residue problems (table 1). Season-long agro-ecosyetm analysis (AESA) was conducted in the FFS to develop farmers ecosystem monitoring skills and informed decision makings on pest management through ecological approach, to avoid over dependency on pesticides in vegetable production. Farmers learned to recognize different stages (egg, larvae/nymphs, pupae and adults) of vegetable insect pests and identify diseases by insect zoo studies, participatory discussion and observations. Farmers improved their ecological knowledge by participating insect pest life cycle and their predator studies. For correcting irrational use of pesticides, farmers were firstly taught to correctly read labels and distinguish fake or illegal pesticides, secondly farmers educated to understand vegetable plant physiology and pesticide residues by transduction and toxicity studies, lastly farmers learned to avoid pesticide residues in vegetables by knowing the name list of banned pesticides and minimum intervals between harvest and using pesticides. Special topics covering the certification of IPM products were conducted in the FFS to facilitate farmers to understand the requirements, procedures and benefits of IPM product certification. Table 1. Activities in vegetable FFS for addressing pesticide residue issues. Exercises Methods Learning objectives 1. Agro-ecosystem Comprehensive sampling of the To monitor vegetable ecosystem and 4

5 analysis vegetable ecosystem, visual presentation and systemic analysis 2. Life cycle of Insect zoo: rearing of insect larvae in insect pests glass containers, nets or cups 3. Pesticide labels Reading and comparing different kinds of pesticide labels collected from the markets. make informed decisions on pest management through ecological approach, to avoid overuse of pesticide. To understand insect biology, understand the relationship between egg, larvae (nymph), pupae, adults and their development. To understand the relationship between commercial, common names and active ingredients of pesticides. To identify fake or illegal pesticide. 4. Disease tri-angle analysis 5. Systematic transduction of pesticide in plants Participatory discussion on the incidence of vegetable diseases, relating to variety resistance, environment and pathogens Dripping plants in dye solutions for observing the transmission of solutions in plant vessels To understand vegetable disease ecology. To understand pesticide can be transported through plant vessels. To understand plant physiology and pesticide residues in plants 6. Toxicity of Dripping vegetable leaves in high toxic pesticides pesticides (such as methamidophos), naturally drying and feeding chicks 7. Name lists of Participatory discussion on name lists Banned pesticides of banned pesticides and its rationalities. 8. Natural enemies Exposing insect pest larvae to predatory natural enemies inside jars. 9. Minimum Participatory discussion on the interval between minimum intervals between harvest and harvest and using using pesticides. pesticides 10. Mapping Participatory drawing maps of community environment with vegetable fields, water resources 11. Certification of Participatory discussion on the IPM products certification of IPM products. To understand pesticide toxicities to animals and humans. To know the kinds of pesticide which forbidden in vegetables. To understand the roles of natural enemies in controlling pests. To understand crucial stages of vegetable pollutions by pesticides. To make plans for the coordinated actions on using non-chemical pest control measures (such as light traps, yellow cards and insect pheromones) and protecting vegetable producing environments. To understand the requirements, procedures and benefits of IPM product certification. 5

6 3.2. Developing IPM communities: follow ups of FFS The vegetable FFSs had established a critical mass of IPM alumni in Gaodeng village by the end of Since 2003, FFS alumni organized IPM associations, and have been conducting several types of activities. Leading by the FFS alumni, IPM associations composed of the untrained vegetable farmers. The FFS alumni have been making use of the IPM associations for disseminating IPM to other farmers. The plant protection station of Kunming city has edited the FFS training and vegetable IPM technological VCD, brochures, posters and given to IPM associations in Gaodeng village for supporting farmer to farmer training activities. The IPM associations in Gaodeng have been promoting safe vegetable production in the community. Farmer conducted field studies: Field studies have been conducted to improve farmers understanding of ecological issues, to test or adapt the recommended IPM techniques for reducing or substituting pesticides. By the end of 2004, the following kinds of studies have been conducted by the IPM associations: (i) using light-traps for controlling vegetable insect pests, (ii) using sex pheromones for controlling diamond back moth and Spodoptera spp., (iii) Biodiversity strategies (mixed cultivation of broad beans with vegetables for managing leaf miners, (iv) field trials on biopesticides of neem oils and Bt, (v) Yellow boards for trapping insect pests. FFS Alumni help other farmers to learn IPM: FFS alumina in Gaodeng village have taken advantages of every means to educate other farmers about vegetable IPM. FFS VCD are showed in the village meetings or gatherings, IPM posters illustrating IPM technologies have been distributed to farmers and posted in community gathering places. In addition to activities organized by the village IPM association, FFS alumni and other farmers shared vegetable IPM through their own communication networks that comprised village kinship (male-line), close relatives (mainly extended family in law), and friends (including close neighbors with in village). Farmers adoption of IPM in the community: Despite great variation, it was found that pest monitoring patterns were changed after farmers accepting vegetable IPM. Before FFS, pest problems in vegetables in Gaodeng village were usually found out by farmers awareness of pest damages (such as leaf curled by aphids or leaf holes eaten by leaf feeders). Farmers were especially alert to the presence of caterpillars or larvae in vegetables. When caterpillars or larvae were found on vegetable plants, all of the farmers would spray pesticides. Normally farmers went to vegetable fields to scout pests by checking a few vegetable plants for caterpillars or larvae. After accepting IPM, the farmers made field observations on vegetable plots to making decisions on pest management. During their field survey, 5 plants were sampled at each site, normally 5 sites with a total of 25 plants were surveyed by walking across the plot diagonally and choosing a site at every 10 meters. Farmers made notes and collect specimens of pests and natural enemies. 6

7 Before farmers exposing to FFS, farmers in Gaodeng village sprayed pesticides mainly by prophylaxis. Farmers used to conduct calendar sprayings without field surveys. Some farmers treated pesticides like fertilizers and thought that the use of some-high toxic (e.g. organophosphates) pesticides can improve the quality of vegetables. Their relatives and pesticide retailers in local market had significant impacts on farmer s choosing the kind of pesticides. Commercial advertisements in media (advertisement posters in villages, TV or radio) also influenced farmers choosing pesticides. Farmers modes of decision making in vegetable pest managements were changed before and after farmers accepting IPM. After accepting IPM, farmers decision making on the use of pesticides was based on vegetable ecosystem analysis, which based on weekly field observations (as mentioned above) on plant health and its compensation abilities, population fluctuations of pest and natural enemies, variety and climatic factors, and analysis of current situations taking into considerations of the relationship of all above mentioned factors. The analysis enabled them to make informed decisions on pest management. The kinds of pesticides used were changed after the introduction of vegetable community IPM in Gaodeng villages. In 2001, some high toxic pesticides such as Monocrotophos, Chlorpyrifos, Phoxin, Methamidophos and Methomyl were widely used by the vegetable farmers in Gaodeng village; all of these high toxic pesticides had been eliminated in Since 2003, all of these banned pesticides have been disappeared from the community pesticide retail stores because no vegetable farmers wanted to use them Farmers self-control system on pesticide applications: There were more than 3,000 kinds of commercial pesticides available in local market; it is a big problem for the farmers in Gaodeng village to select appropriate pesticides. In the FFS, farmers were trained in reading pesticide labels, to help farmers distinguish commercial and common names, identify active ingredients and its concentrations. The trained farmers were able to distinguish correct labeled pesticides from fake or illegal pesticides. For banning the entry of improperly labeled and illegal pesticides into the community, the IPM association established a farmers self-control system in 2003 including the following aspects: (i) FFS alumni in Gaodeng village established a pesticide retail store in 2003, a computer installed with the software such as name lists of registered pesticides, name lists of banned pesticide in vegetable and fruit crops, field guide for safe use of pesticides published by the ICAMA, Ministry of Agriculture was used for helping select appropriate pesticides. (ii) FFS alumni frequently conducted field surveys to checking the kinds of pesticides used and provide advices for other farmers on rational use of pesticides. (iii) encourage farmers to cross check each other on their applications of pesticides, and report the cases of inappropriate use of pesticide to IPM association, then FFS alumni will provide advices to correct those inappropriate use of pesticides. (iv) IPM association regularly sends vegetable samples to be detected for pesticide residues. In addition, IPM alumni has established a pesticide 7

8 contain collection station in the community center, pesticide contains were collected to avoid their polluting vegetable fields Implementing non-chemical pest control strategy: The vegetable productions in Petri-urban area of Kunming city is noted for its rich diversities, as many as 114 kinds of vegetables are been cultivated annually. In line with the rich diversities of vegetable crops, there are more than 40 species of insect pests occurring in vegetables in Gaodeng village. To implement non-chemical pest control strategy is the best basis for solving pesticide residue problems. In the small holder farmer systems, collaborative actions are needed for the implementation of those non- chemical pest control techniques. Organized by the IPM association, 250 light traps covering 500 hectares of vegetable fields (a light trap covering 2 hectares) has been built in Godeng villages in Light traps are being used as a mean of reducing the incidences of leaf beetles, Lepidoptera, Diamond back moth (DBM) and in vegetable fields. Sticking yellow cards are put in the fields to attract leaf miners, sex pheromones were used for disrupting mates of Spotoptera and DBM moths. As each non-chemical technique has its advantages and disadvantages, and is only partly effective for controlling pests, the techniques must be combined each other or with other strategies to reduce the application of pesticides. Committed to implement the non-chemical strategy, the IPM association arranged several seminars for farmers from the whole community and local officials from the township, county and Kunming city. In the seminars, IPM alumni shared their experiences with other farmers in the field studies on using those no-chemical techniques, the farmers reached consensus for collaboratively taking duties on the management of the non-chemical pest control facilities, such as cleaning light traps, protecting the theft or damage of light traps, yellow cards, insect protection nets and insect pheromone traps. The officials in Kunming city were impressed by the insight of the IPM association and IPM farmers, decided to support the implementation of those non-chemical techniques in Gaodeng village and subsidized 15% costs of procuring the light traps, light traps, yellow cards, insect protection nets and insect pheromone traps in 2003 and Certification of IPM vegetables: The plant protection station of Kunming city designed a Logo along with the producing standards of safe vegetables in The Logo was initially transferred to the IPM association in Gaodeng village and used in labeling vegetables produced by FFS alumni and other IPM farmers. FFS alumni were responsible for the season long field inspections. If farmers cultivated the vegetable in compliance with the producing standards of safe vegetables, they can summit requests for using this Logo to label their vegetables to IPM association for approval. Once the vegetables passed the season long field inspections by the FFS alumni and got the approval from IPM association, the vegetable can be labeled with this Logo. 8

9 3.6. Connecting to markets: The development of vegetable IPM community in Gaodeng village has attracted attentions from vegetable marketing companies. The certificated IPM vegetables has entered into supermarkets, and several vegetable companies has signed purchasing contracts with IPM association in Gaodeng village and marketing IPM vegetables in Kunming and other cities. The certified IPM vegetables were sold 5-17% higher prices in 2004 compared with ordinary vegetables in 2005, furthermore farmers escaped market risks by contracting with the vegetable companies. 4. Scaling up of vegetable IPM communities in Kunming city Based on the experiences of vegetable IPM community development in Gaodeng village, Kunming city government realized that setting up vegetable IPM community is the best current option for overcoming pesticide residue problems. Kunming city government has provided supports for expanding vegetable IPM communities to other vegetable producing villages. Until 2005, 11 FFSs has been conducted with 340 vegetable farmers been trained in Kunming city, the FFS alumni has organized field training activities with the participation of 15,600 farmers, vegetable IPM communities has been extended from 1 village in 2003 to 5 in 2004 and 10 in Since the implementation of vegetable IPM communities, the rates of exceeding pesticide residue MTLs detected in sampled vegetables in Kunming city has been continuously reduced from 20.87% in 2003, to 10.2% in 2004 and 2.5% in Conclusion There are many advantages in implementing IPM through the FFS approach is clearly demonstrated (Matterson et al, 1993; Ooi, 1996; John et al, 2002; van den Berg, 2004; van den Berg et al, 2004) in the past. However, expanding IPM out to the large number of small holder farmers in China without losing quality poses great challenge (Yang et al, 2002; Fu and Liu, 2006). The training effects of FFS without external support and follow up activities may fade due to several reasons: (i) diffusion of training impacts, only very little portions of farmers in the community trained or in the course of time after training. (ii) influences of the prevailing (socio-economic, political, natural) environment. (iii) influences of pest pressures (pest outbreaks, newly emerged pests, pest resistances). These influences may be direct (e.g. thorough farmer to farmer contact), or indirect (e.g. non supportive policy inhibiting IPM) (van den Berg, 2004) and seems to be more significant in vegetable farming (Yang 2005 [2]; Fu and Liu, 2006), because that there is additional risks that vegetable farmers always change to new crops after FFS training. The concepts of community IPM entails the institutionalization of IPM in farmers community level, and the experiences of vegetable IPM community development in Kunming city demonstrated its effectiveness in safe vegetable productions in this case study. To establish vegetable IPM community, local governmental support is necessary. This is especially crucial at the initial stages (Yang 2005 [2]; Fu and Liu, 2006). In particular, Local policy makers need to appreciate how IPM and FFS can contribute to 9

10 the local community development and social cohesion. Understanding this would enable them to consider generating local funding for farmer education, to build technical infrastructure and to develop policy support for IPM like this case in Kunming city. Local government s support could promote better acceptances of IPM at community level to make framer-centered IPM program more sustainable over a wide scale. Close unity and co-operation among farmers is vital for producing safe vegetables in small holder farming systems (Yang 2005 [2]; Fu and Liu, 2006). The process of vegetable IPM community developments in Kuniming city started with farmer education, which introduced new principles and technical tools towards vegetable IPM. In the context of vegetable IPM community, initial development is farmer education through the farmer field school. The second level development is farmer s innovations of farming practices, especially the generation of new IPM technologies through field observation and field researches, providing new, locally relevant knowldeges and non-chemical measures to substitute pesticide. The third level is farmers self organization, occurred through the sharing of knowledge and new innovations, resulting in collaborative adoption of IPM in the community. The fourth level is networking, particularly the connection to markets through the certification of IPM vegetable products, ensuring premium for encouraging sustainable adoption of IPM. China has huge numbers of smallholder vegetable farms. It is obvious that relying on traditional FFS approach is impossible to reach such a huge numbers of farmers and make significant differences in a visible period. Farmer-to-farmer dissemination is perhaps the realistic way in scaling up the vegetable IPM-FFSs (Yang 2005 [2]), the case of initiating community IPM development in Kunming seems an alternative approach. Once a vegetable IPM community is established, FFS alumni could take over the roles of governmental facilitators, including leaders of the local IPM program. It is envisaged that from next year onwards, many more IPM communities will be planned and implemented to cover more vegetable farmers, and also in more counties and townships in Yunan province and elsewhere in China. Acknowledgements The support of FAO vegetable IPM program in Asia (FNPP/GLO/002/NET, GCP/RAS/191/AUL & GCP/RAS/209/NOR) for this study is gratefully acknowledged, we also thank the plant protection stations of Kuming city and Yunnan province for providing assistance for the study. 10

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