Collectively searching for alternatives
Typically, a group of around 25 farmers c-ordinated by a trainer prepares two training plots in their village, one using local conventional farming methods and another plot using best practices appropriate to the crop and location based on IPPM, to observe and compare results from the two plots.
Over 2 ,000 trainers coming from dozens of local government, private sector and civil society organisations have been taught to support farmers in applying sustainable farming methods.
In Mali, a survey conducted in 65 villages of trained cotton farmers showed a 94 per cent reduction in the use of chemical pesticides and a 400 per cent increase in the use of organic material like compost and manure, substances that can reverse the decline in soil fertility.
In Burkina Faso, IPPM helped increase yields from between 14 and 70 per cent. Almost 16,000 cotton farmers have been trained in the project, and that number should double by the end of 2011.
Data from Senegal and Mali show 90 per cent reductions in the use of chemical pesticides among farmers one to two years after training. In Senegal, farmers also shifted towards the use of botanical and biological pesticides. Farmers' increased use of organic material such as compost and rice straw is one of the most striking results of the programme, FAO said.