>Anyhow, in my experience, it is usually growers who tend toward excessive
>pesticide and fertilizer use. Extension personnel usually recommend
In the Philippines, I can definitely say that the growers/farmers were
urged, nudged, pushed, forced, deceived, etc. by the govt, industry
and intl institutions into pesticide use. Millions of pesos were spent
to "educate" the farmer on "modern" pesticide management. Corruption
had a role too. The situation of an extension worker recommending a
"technology package", while a relative is the chemical dealer in the
area is common enough. In many towns, you can easily trace
blood/marriage/friendship ties between local ag officials and local
chemical dealers. And then there are government loan programs which
require the adoption of "technology packages": seeds plus chemicals.
By the way, I use "extension" here in the general sense of government
(or academic) programs reaching out to farmers in the field. We don't
even have what you call a land-grant system.
>They are interested in IPM and biological control because
>that generates more interesting and publishable research
>than being a nozzle-head.
Again in the Philippines, IPM (which still integrates pesticide use in
the pest management plan, by the way) was adopted only after a long
campaign by outside groups very critical of pesticides, and after a
long history of opposition by chemical pushers inside and outside
govt. In many Ag Dept offices, it is still a half-hearted adoption if
not lip-service (very little budget, for instance), and depends on
having a champion within the office. I see IPM more as a rear-guard
action by the chemical complex in the industry and within govt, until
biotech and GMOs take over. I have met govt people who see it as a
transition to chemical-free farming, but they're a minority.
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