HomeInternational Rice Research Notesvol. 31 no. 1 (2006)

Farmer participatory learning on integrated crop management of lowland rice in Mali

F. E. Nwilene | M.a. Togola | O. Youm | A. Hamadoun

Discipline: Biology, Agriculture



The African rice gall midge (AfRGM) Orseolia oryzivora Harris and Gagné and rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) are principal biotic constraints to the sustainable intensifi cation of rainfed and irrigated lowland rice, posing the most serious challenge to human endeavors in West Africa (Nwilene et al 2002). Considerable progress has been made to control both stresses through integrated pest management (IPM) components. But, there has been no focus on farmers' needs, knowledge, and capacity for learning ways of managing pest and disease problems under locally observed conditions (Defoer et al 2004). Often, farmers are handicapped because they lack a basic understanding of pest and disease symptoms, ecology, natural enemies, development patterns of crops and pests, appropriate control measures, soil condition and its effect on the crop, and the effect of weather conditions on pest populations and disease incidence. They do not understand pest resurgence and the reasons for not using insecticides indiscriminately. There is a growing realization that future agricultural growth hinges on smallholder farmers, who must be knowledgeable and exposed to a learning process that involves continuous observation and feedback from the local environment and that enhances decision-making capacity. This paper reports efforts made to train lowland rice farmers on crop management practices and IPM options to enable them to carry out their own experiments on their own farms.