escaping the pesticide trap non pesticide management in india ingredients for success
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Escaping the Pesticide Trap: Non-Pesticide Management in India Ingredients for Success. The Crisis: The Beginnings. Cotton production spread among small farms as a cash crop. Cotton required chemical insecticides and fertilizers: new to these farmers!

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the crisis the beginnings
The Crisis: The Beginnings
  • Cotton production spread among small farms as a cash crop.
  • Cotton required chemical insecticides and fertilizers: new to

these farmers!

  • Commercial dealers (a) sold seeds and chemicals on credit

(b) guaranteed purchase of cotton crop (c) provided information

about use from multinational corporate suppliers.

  • Early years made profit because cotton pests had not moved in.
the crisis the trap
The Crisis: The Trap
  • Cotton pests plagued fields, requiring regular spraying.
  • Weak pests died while resistant pests lived and multiplied.
  • Farmers reacted by spraying more pesticides more often.
  • Insecticides killed predators: birds, wasps, beetles, & spiders.
  • Without predators, forced to spray or the harvest would be lost.
  • Insecticides damaged soil, requiring more chemical fertilizers.
the crisis the decline
The Crisis: The Decline
  • Input expenses went up so much farmers lost money on cotton.
  • Farmers debt deepened since inputs were bought on credit.
  • Desperation led to illegal side-jobs & indentured labor for kids.
  • Education was set aside, assuring continued cycle of poverty.
  • Insecticide poisoning spread: illness, hospital bills, & death.
  • Farmers trapped in cotton production because agrochemical

dealers required full debt repayment if they stopped buying.

  • Suicide rate soared to highest in India as debt escalated.
non pesticide management npm
Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)
  • Scientists devised system for using no chemical insecticides.
  • Planting Neem trees, which have natural insect repellants.
  • Applying Neem leaf/seed solution, chili-garlic solution,

cow dung and urine to repel pests.

  • Fighting pests by applying naturally occurring viruses.
non pesticide management npm1
Non-Pesticide Management (NPM)
  • Planting ‘trap crops’ that lure away insect pests.
  • Burning heavily infested branches.
  • Using colorful sticky boards to trap pests.
  • Lighting small bonfires to kill bollworm moths.
  • Building bird perches to attract insect-eating birds.
  • Plowing deeply between crops to wipe out pest pupae in soil.
outside stimulation and facilitation
Outside stimulation and facilitation
  • Venu Madhav came to Punukula as worker for NGO SECURE.
  • Took villagers to distant farm that used NPM.
  • Scientists put together a package of NPM methods.
  • SECURE found and coached a villager willing to risk NPM.
  • Two SECURE staff members stayed in Punukula to help.
  • After Punukula success, Center for Sustainable Agriculture

trained women in several thousand other villages to use NPM.

strong local democratic institutions and enduring commitment of local leadership
Strong local democratic institutions and enduring commitment of local leadership
  • First adopter Margam Mutthaiah -- strong and dedicated leader
  • NPM grew in a widening circle until entire village used it.
  • Village council and farmers’ association supported and helped.
  • Women pressured men to use NPM and prepared materials.
  • NPM spread to existing women self-help groups across region.
co adaption between social system and ecosystem
Co-adaption between social system and ecosystem
  • Farmers organized to make eco-friendly NPM a reality.
  • Farmers used local Neem trees instead of costly insecticides.
  • Improved health of people and ecosystem.
  • Soil nourished by Neem cakes and animal dung.
  • NPM techniques allowed birds and livestock to thrive.
  • Instead of chemical fertilizers they started vermi-composting.
letting nature do the work
"Letting nature do the work"
  • NPM methods repelled, trapped or killed pests.
  • Neem leaves and seeds contain natural insect repellants.
  • Repellants affected specific pests and didn’t harm other life.
  • Pests could not build resistance to such diverse methods.
  • Birds and pest predators returned, so less Neem needed.
  • Putting Neem cakes in soil improved nitrogen content.
rapid results
Rapid results
  • First season’s harvest with NPM as big as with insecticides.
  • Immediate and dramatic drop in production costs.
  • The next year (1998), 20 farmers joined in using NPM.
  • Within a few years, farmers cleared their debts.
  • By 2004, village council declared Punukula pesticide-free.
  • By 2008, 340,000 farmers in 3170 villages using NPM.
overcoming social obstacles
Overcoming social obstacles
  • Insecticide dealers demanded full debt payment if farmers

stopped buying insecticides.

  • Farmers banded together to fight this demand.
  • Dealers punished NPM users by paying less for their cotton.
  • Farmers formed a marketing cooperative and found fair prices.
  • Convinced State to ignore corporate lobbyists & support NPM.
social and ecological diversity
Social and ecological diversity
  • Punukula farmers received a diversity of technical assistance.
  • The Neem tree has a variety of natural pesticides and defenses

which prevent development of resistance by pests.

  • Used a diversity of NPM methods for unique qualities of pests.
  • Diversity of pest predators restored: natural controls!
social and ecological memory
Social and ecological memory
  • Neem traditionally used in health & beauty products and to

protect stored grains from pest insects.

  • NPM used ecological memory of birds and pest predators.
building resilience
Building Resilience
  • Healthier society and ecosystem helped sustain their gains in

the face of unexpected challenges.

  • Pesticide poisoning stopped and health and vitality returned.
  • Less spent on agricultural chemicals and hospitals allowed

farmers to pay off debts and achieve financial resilience.

  • Children rescued from indentured servitude started schooling.
  • Commitment secured by teaching NPM in schools and training

women in self-help groups across the region.

building resilience1
Building Resilience
  • Women built income making and selling NPM materials.
  • Farmers expanded to new crops and businesses.
  • Success bred confidence, solidarity & stronger social support.
  • Community united and made demands on government.
  • Villagers worked on community projects, such as purifying

village water & setting up a cotton gin to boost income.