A participatory exercise for modifying rice farmers’ beliefs and practices in stem borer loss assessment uri icon

abstract

  • Pest management decisions of Asian rice farmers are often based on biased heuristics. They generally overestimate losses from pest attack and thus make unnecessary insecticide sprays-a loss aversion behavior. A participatory exercise to facilitate the computation of yield loss from white head symptoms of rice stem borers was found to effectively help rice farmers make adjustments to their biases. After participating in the exercise, farmers reduced their insecticide sprays for stem borer control by 22% and their intended insecticide expenditures by 45%. The control farmers on the other hand did not reduce their sprays and reduced their intended expenditures by only 14%. Farmers who had done the exercise reduced their estimated loss from white head by 27%, while there was no reduction in control farmers. Similarly, farmers also reduced their control expenditures and perceptions of loss by 43% and 54%, respectively, while control farmers' reductions were lower, 22% and 31%, respectively. Compared to the control farmers, higher reductions in beliefs were also found in farmers exposed to this exercise. This participatory exercise has the potential of being implemented in extension, training and mass communication programs to motivate rice farmers to manage stem borers more efficiently. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

publication date

  • 2004
  • 2004
  • 2004