Agriculturists as Environmentalists: The Challenge of Seeing Participatory IPM as an Environmental Innovation for Sustainable Adoption by Farming Communities in the Caribbean

Recent definitions of Integrated Pest Management (1PM) put more emphasis on the ecological approach to pest management and the need to involve end-users in the technology development process (Joffe, 1998, Meerman, 1999). This approach brings to the fore major differences between IPM and other technical innovations that should force agriculturists to begin to look at IPM with the eyes of environmentalists. Agriculturists are trained to provide clear recommendations to farmers, based on research conducted at centralized experiment stations, and to expect changes in the shortest possible time, often without much concern for the environment Policies and regulatory measures support this approach. The focus of this paper is to present participatory IPM as "a set of best management practices", worked out with farmers and given for a particular context and environment. A greater emphasis is placed on protection rather than production. The strategies to be adopted are therefore expected to be inconsistent with those used to promote commercial innovations, and more in line with environmental innovations. This could be challenging. Several of the issues that would confront development institutions and agriculturists if a new perspective were to be taken are discussed. Extension would need to shift from individual to community adoption, adjust expectations of short-term results, and place much more emphasis on the environment-specific Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) that resides in communities. Policy-makers would need to develop a different set of policy instruments and regulatory mechanisms, research would have to be conducted on-farm, and research, extension and farmers must work together. A participatory approach must be taken. As overall objectives shift, economists so far not directly involved must now make their input The importance of taking this approach, and its potential, are discussed from the context of the several examples of IPM initiatives in the region.

Issue Date:
Jul 09 2002
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Total Pages:

 Record created 2017-11-29, last modified 2018-01-23

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