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Training Makes a Difference: New Study Finds Farmer Production Costs Decreased, Farmer and Food Safety Increased

Bangkok, Thailand, May 01, 2007 --( Farmers were able to reduce their costs of production, while more effectively controlling pests and better protecting themselves and their farms – all thanks to a practical training programme with farmers in rural China.

“Responsible use of crop protection products increases food productivity and makes farmers more successful, but it is important that products are used wisely. We have always believed training has an immediate impact on the safe use of pesticides, and the study in China shows it achieves better protection for the environment, greater personal safety for farmers, and more efficient use of the product,” explains Martin Gibson of CropLife Asia.

The study in Guanghan, Sichuan Province of China, shows that well-designed and integrated training significantly improves safety practices and pesticide application behaviours among farmers. The changes also translated to cost savings for farmers.

In line with CropLife members’ commitment towards safe and responsible use of crop protection products, CropLife China, in collaboration with the National Agricultural Technical Extension Service Centre (NATESC) and the Sichuan Plant Protection Service, provided training to 2,800 farmers, pesticide retailers and extension officers in 2006. As part of the project, Prof Xin-Hong Fu and her team from the Department of Economics and Management at Sichuan Agricultural University surveyed almost 2000 of the trainees before and after undergoing the training. The findings were collated in a report that was completed in January 2007.

Responsible behaviour
The biggest behavioural change observed among farmers was in proper waste disposal of pesticide containers. Many farmers used to throw waste containers in the fields. The survey saw that practice cut by more than half after farmer training intervention.

The study witnessed more responsible purchasing and safety-related behaviours among farmers after training intervention. More farmers sought advice from agricultural extension workers in choosing correct and good quality pesticides. The number of farmers who read product labels before application and followed safety instructions also increased. And more farmers used personal protective equipment (such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants) to minimise their exposure to the products.

Cost savings
The survey showed 61 per cent of farmers cut their pesticide bills by an average of 17 per cent as a result of training. The farmers saved costs through correct pesticide selection, reduction of unnecessary spraying, right dosage and application, good agricultural practices and integrated pest management principles introduced in training sessions.

Increased food safety
Following training in certifications of authentic pesticides, farmer knowledge in distinguishing quality pesticides from fake products increased. Knowledge of correct application techniques also improved. The report concludes, “Better timing of applications helped farmers use pesticides more effectively and decreased pesticide residue levels in agricultural products.” All these contribute to compliance with food safety and trade standards.

“This report clearly demonstrates the benefits to farmers, the rural community and the environment from delivering precisely targeted and well-managed responsible use training programmes to advisers on, and users of crop protection products,” concludes stewardship director Martin Gibson of CropLife Asia.

Based on this demonstrated value, the government of Guanghan has invested funds to train more women farmers in the area. Local partners NATESC and Sichuan PPS agreed to take on the project and extend the training model to other cities and towns in 2007. “This partnership approach between the government and industry is truly rewarding,” says project lead Jeff Au of CropLife China. “It benefits not only the trainees but also ensures maximum outreach and multiplication of the model.”

About CropLife Asia
CropLife Asia supports sustainable agriculture by promoting the benefits and responsible use of crop protection and plant biotechnology products, and sound regulatory frameworks. CropLife Asia is a regional association under CropLife International – a global federation representing the plant science industry in over 90 countries. Leading CropLife Asia are companies at the forefront of crop production research and development: BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC, Monsanto and Syngenta.

A summary report is available at:

A full report is available at:

Contact Information
CropLife Asia
Lichelle Carlos

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