Governing Pesticide Use at the District Level
The policy brief synthesizes information and issues from various research projects and studies on agricultural chemicals in Lao PDR. It incorporates the results of a comparative case-study of Thathom District which has a ban on pesticides and a low rate of pesticide use and nearby Kham District, which has no ban on pesticides and a high rate of use of chemical inputs. Descriptive statistics and information are used to analyze the factors that influence the use of agro-chemicals in the respective Districts. Lessons learned are used to formulate policy options and recommendations on green agriculture and food safety that may be applicable to other areas of the country
- As agriculture commercializes, pesticide use is increasing, and with it negative impacts to human health and the environment.
- Kham District is an example of brown commercial agriculture, where low value extensive commodity production depends on high pesticide use. After a few years, this system becomes less and less profitable for farmers. Thathom District banned pesticides entirely, which is only possible because there is less commercial agriculture in the district.
- District governments can support greener agriculture and better pesticide management with a systematic approach. A ban on pesticide alone will have limited impact.
- Reactive policies can reduce human and environmental impacts including:
- Enforcement of existing law and regulations on pesticide import, sale and use, including in foreign investments in agriculture.
- Using community risk reduction guidelines to move from individual action such as protective gear use, to community agreements on not spraying near water sources, homes and schools.
- Supporting MAF and MoNRE efforts for safe pesticide container disposal.
- Training on harvest timing after spraying, proper quantities and integrated pest management to reduce residues on vegetables.
- Proactive options can support more green commercialization including:
- Improving the efficiency of market systems by enforcing fair contracts, reducing tax burdens, access to credit, and supporting crop storage and processing infrastructure.
- Support for crop diversification with technical advice and small infrastructure such as irrigation ponds, village processing facilities.
- Green extension approaches like farmer to farmer training.
- Support for organic and GAP certifications, with easier group development, and transparent, efficient certification processes to promote market trust.
- Furthermore, there is a need for a multi-stakeholder approach – different actors have different roles to play including agriculture, education, health, industry, the private sector and aid organizations.
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Source: Department of Policy and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Author: Department of Policy and Legal Affairs