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Pellegrini, Fernando, 2013. Evaluation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) adoption in potato production using the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach : a qualitative study from central Ecuador. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology

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Abstract

Potato production and consumption play a big role in the central highlands of Ecuador. Two main biotic constraints hinder the development of potato crops on the field: the Late Blight (Phytophtora infestans) and the Andean potato Weevil (Premnotrypes vorax). The use of agro‐chemicals started in Ecuador during the agrarian reform in the sixties, and still nowadays small‐scale potato producers
customarily apply pesticides to reduce their losses. Overuse/abuse of pesticides in Ecuador represents
a threat to human health, to the environment, and a high production cost for some farmers. It can cause the development of pest resistance in crops, and it influences negatively the national food sovereignty. Integrated Pest Management (IPM)has already been proved to be a valid solution to avoid the negativities connected to pesticide use. Yet IPM is not widely employed by potato farmers in
Ecuador, and a call for a more holistic IPM evaluation is felt necessary by many stakeholders to move forward.

The overarching objectives of this thesis are 1) to assess in which way the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach could evaluate consequences of IPM potential adoption for Late Blight and Andean potato Weevil and 2) to investigate how this potential adoption could influence the livelihood assets of the farmers part of the IssAndes project. To reach these objectives, five research questions were
developed on 1) the perceived change over time regarding farming practices, pest/disease gravity and farming knowledge, 2) current pest/disease management practices, 3) current sources of information on pest/disease management, 4) perception on IPM, 5) the most relevant livelihood assets to evaluate IPM adoption in this specific context.
To address these questions, focus groups, semi‐structured interviews and PRA methods were carried out with six farmer groups living in the provinces of Tungurahua, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Here potato production and pesticide use add to issues related to poverty and social exclusion of indigenous
groups. Moreover, key informants and experts were consulted to acquire deep information about the potato sector.

As it turns out, farmers perceived, during the last three/four decades, an overall simplification of farming practices, an increased attack of pests and diseases, and a progressive loss of farming knowledge. They nowadays apply many different chemical inputs, that ranges from slightly to very toxic. They acquire information about pest/disease management using formal and informal networks, and they value more positively information coming from other farmers, and from technicians during demonstrative harvests/sowings. Respondents knew only few IPM methods, but they showed a big interest in implementing new technologies that could eventually lower the amount of pesticides they spray; they would do it mainly 1) for the health hazards related to pesticide use, 2) for the high cost of pesticides, 3) and to preserve their natural resource base. The human (i.e. decision making capacity
and farming knowledge)and social (i.e. networking capacity)assets resulted to be most significant to
evaluate IPM in this specific context.

IPM adoption carried out with participatory approaches could trigger experiential learning processes among farmers, enabling them to create valuable local knowledge, thus increasing their access to the human asset. It could also engage them to participate in common activities, creating trust between different communities, thus helping them to expand their networks, and increasing their access to the social asset. This process would have as a livelihood outcome to reduce the vulnerability felt by some
farmers towards increasing pest/disease gravity, and the social exclusion experienced by some groups, particularly indigenous.

Main title:Evaluation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) adoption in potato production using the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach
Subtitle:a qualitative study from central Ecuador
Authors:Pellegrini, Fernando
Supervisor:Marquardt, Kristina and Rämert, Birgitta
Examiner:Anderson, Peter
Series:Självständigt arbete vid LTJ-fakulteten, SLU
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2013
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology
Keywords:IPM, Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, potato, pesticides, farmer groups, participation, poverty, livelihood assets, Ecuador
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2441
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2441
Subjects:Agricultural economics and policies
Plant ecology
Food processing and preservation
Language:English
Deposited On:27 Jun 2013 15:05
Metadata Last Modified:21 Oct 2015 14:28

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