Field trials demonstrating the effective of biological inputs
Chemical pesticides do not necessarily increase productivity and boost profits. They leave residues on fresh produce and harm the health of farmers and consumers.
ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) conducts field trials on the use of biological crop protection to replace the needs for chemical inputs. The trials were recently conducted in Kanchanaburi, Thailand between May and June this year. Farmer practice was compared with biological pest control inputs which target the flea beetles in cabbage.
Data are currently being analyzed and will be reported soon. The results of the field trails will help developing application guidance for environmentally friendly and safe management of pest and disease and promoting the use of biocontrol for crop protection.
“It is hard to believe to see such a good quality vegetable without using chemicals,” says U-Tai Songsaeng, 39, a trader who comes to buy the Chinese cabbage at the field trials.
“I grow vegetable myself and I used chemicals but my vegetables did not look as good as these ones,” he says.
Chinese cabbage is popular in Thailand but often infested with flea beetles. Reports say larvae and adult flea beetle infestation reduces yields about 10 percent. Low quality vegetable also cannot make it to the market.
ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) has been conducting field trials on the use of biological crop protection in comparison with application of chemical pesticides since 2004. It started with the trials in Chiang Rai, Thailand in January to March 2014, also on the use of biological pesticides to control flea beetles in Chinese cabbage. The results showed that the use of biocontrol inputs were cheaper and more effective than the farmer’s practice.
More field trials are planned to be conducted in Lao PDR and Myanmar.
ASEAN SAS supports effective and environmentally friendly crop production solutions while promoting economic advantages in the value chain that guarantee food safety and security in the region.
During a series of Regional ASEAN Experts Meetings on Biological Control Agents organized throughout 2013, many ASEAN Member States mainly expressed their interest in conducting research and demonstration trials on the application of biocontrol for pest management.
Story and photos by Rojana Manowalailao, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS)