Gabriele Stoll
Natural Crop Protection in the Tropics
Letting Information Come to Life
Letting information come to life
Developing Insect-Controlling Plants with Farmers
Pioneering participatory research in Thailand
by Gabriele Stoll PhD, Withoon Lianchamroon,
Phayong Srithong

Background and context
This project already dates back 10 years. However, the approach chosen and experiences made are still valid today and worthwhile to be shared.
It was initiated because in many development projects there was an interest in non-chemical crop protection methods. However, information was difficult to access or, where it could be accessed, it was written in a scientific language which was difficult to translate into field language. In the meantime, access to information on natural crop protection methods has increased considerably, information which derives from traditional and locally-generated knowledge as well as scientific knowledge.
Today, a basic knowledge of natural crop protection practices has been established in Thailand to which the ACPP (Aternative Crop Protection Project) has contributed considerably. However, the growing potential for organic products for both domestic and export markets demands high quality crops which are not yet produced at large scale due to lack of an adequate training and extension system. The approach and experiences of the ACPP combined with developments at international level could contribute to strengthen the emerging organic farming sector in Thailand.

The project
The ACPP was a joint project between two NGOs, the Appropriate Technology Association (ATA) based in Bangkok, later TREE based in Suphanburi in Central Thailand, and the McKean Rehabilitation Center in Chiang Mai, North Thailand. At ATA, the ACPP worked through their Integrated Farming System Project, with TREE through their Natural Crop Protection Project and with the McKean Rehabilitation Center through their Organic Farming Demonstration Project.
By working through existing projects and grown structures, the ACPP did not act isolatedly in the contact villages. However, this required a good cooperation and fine-tuning of both approach and activities with the 'mother projects' so that the farmers would perceive the additional activities of the ACPP as part of one whole concept. Farmers were quite open to the new cooperation.

The project objectives were:
• To generate and improve know-how on preparation, application and control effects of plant-based extracts under farmers' conditions.
• To integrate scientific know-how and scientists into a farmer-participatory approach to generate natural crop protection practices, particularly plant-based extracts.
• To elaborate a participatory on-farm experimentation methodology and to disseminate this among local and foreign development workers and the organizations they work with.
•To disseminate the use of plant-based extracts to farmers and interested development and extension workers.

What was the implementation strategy?
Based on its objectives, this project was very complex from the outset. The responsible people in the project viewed themselves primarily as facilitators for a specific task who were incorporating advice from local specialists of different disciplines.
Process of adaptation of neem-based plant extracts

The printed version contains more information about the following themes:

Motivations and expectations of farmers
Research approach, methodology, management, output
Roles and responsibilities
Vertical and horizontal linkages