In 2009, CropLife International, CropLife Asia and CropLife India partnered with two local Indian organizations — EFFORT (Eco Foundation for Research and Training) and BIRDS (Bharati Integrated Rural Development society) — to provide training on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the responsible use and secure storage of crop protection products.
Located in southern India, the Adoni region of the state of Andhra Pradesh is home to over 500,000 people, many of whom are involved in agriculture. Communities in Adoni depend heavily on farming for their livelihoods, primarily growing cotton, rice and chilies in over 160 villages.
Regional farmers were trained on a wide range of topics, including inspecting crops, identifying beneficial insects, wearing personal protection equipment, determining when and when not to spray, correct spraying techniques, maintaining sprayer equipment, triple-rinsing empty containers and securely storing crop protection products. A variety of training methods were used, such as farmer training groups, field demonstrations, house-to-house visits, school programs, village meetings and cultural shows. With successful implementation in Adoni, this model can now be implemented in other regions around the world.
The project trained 128,000 farm families over a six-year period. Outcomes included:
- 90.3% of farmers could identify beneficial insects immediately after training, rising to 97% four years later. All farmers can identify crop pests.
- 97.4% of farmers understood the main components of responsible use (e.g., proper handling and storage of crop protection products) immediately after training, increasing to 99.5% four years later.
- 93.2% of farmers were aware of the dangers of counterfeit pesticides (including how to recognize and avoid them) immediately after training, rising to 97% four years later.
- 89.7% of farmers disposed of their empty containers safely immediately after training, increasing to 99.5% four years later.
- Use of local trainers is both cost-effective and successful. Knowledge of the local culture and customs is key to successful delivery.
- Multi-faceted training approaches, including field demonstrations, village meetings, house visits and cultural shows, ensures good knowledge retention and village buy-in.
- The concept of using directly trained farmers to train their peers is successful, but needs to be monitored and appropriate matrials made available.
- Using farmer leaders as motivators to encourage other farmers to attend training is effective.
- Organizing women trainee groups and household visits resulted in significant uptake of safe storage and container disposal practices.
- Retailers need to be included in programs as they are a major source of information for farmers.