Over the past decade 2010-2020, farming systems in Lao PDR operated a rapid transition from traditional slash & burn shifting agriculture toward more market-oriented production systems. The transition toward new crop productions -such as maize, sugar cane, tobacco, banana, long bean etc.- as well as the reduction of fallow periods and greater pest pressure, often led to an increase of pesticide use.
Pesticides raise human & animal health issues (due to acute or chronic intoxications), as well as environmental problems (due to agrochemical persistence and dissemination within the environment, leading to ecosystem fragility and biodiversity depletion).
Moreover, and at family scale, farmers are facing a trade-off between a short-term risk (risk of food and income shortage leading to incapacity to handle family’s needs in terms of food, healthcare and education access and comfort) and a medium-term to long-term risk (risk of developing a disease linked to pesticide use and exposure). To stop using pesticides is then most often seen as an economic risk and due to lack of realistic economic alternatives, only few families are willing and able to move toward pesticide-free systems.
In order to provide an overall response to the complex pesticide issues, CCL has developed a systemic multi-scale multistakeholder approach, mingling activities of different types, from support to agriculture and awareness raising, to governance strengthening and advocacy work.
The challenge of such comprehensive interventions is to target not only the farmers, but also the farming companies, the pesticide retail shops, the extension workers, the villagers, teachers and children, the decision-makers.
Since 2013, across CCL projects:
- Around 6600 villagers & farmers (37% of women) and around 900 children (52% of girls) participated to awareness sessions on pesticides issues
- 25 village committees and community rules on pesticide created & strengthened
- 73 staff from local authorities & NGOs (25% of women) were trained on pesticide & organic farming, for a total workload of 442 man.days of capacity building
- 107 persons (30% of women) participated to technical exchanges and work of task forces on pesticides, for a total workload of 371 man.days