Safe and sustainable crop protection in Southeast Asia: Status, challenges and policy options

This study aims to identify challenges as well as entry points for governments in Southeast Asia and elsewhere to reduce the risk from agricultural pesticides by comparing levels of pesticide use, pesticide regulation, and farm-level practices in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. We identified three main challenges to pesticide risk reduction: (a) the rapid expansion of pesticide tradein terms of total volume, number of products and number of selling points, combined with a weak regulatory and enforcement capacity; (b) a high level of satisfaction among farmers with pesticides combined with low levels of risk awareness, lack of technical know-how about integrated pest management (IPM), andgeneral unavailability of biocontrol agents; and (c) no regular monitoring of pesticide risk, which makes it difficult for legislators, regulators, farmers and consumers to make rational decisions. The study highlights several examples countries can emulate, including the introduction of a pesticide tax inVietnam, the pesticide registration system in Thailand, regular training of pesticide retailers in Thailand and Vietnam, and product certification.