The Government of Liberia is exploring the feasibility of a World Bank supported agricultural development project, the principal objective of improving the income opportunities of poor farmers by a combination of rehabilitating unproductive farms, undertaking replanting and new planting programs, facilitating future replanting and development programs, and improved financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements. The proposed Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Support Project (STCRSP) has been identified in response to this objective.
The main characteristics of the Liberian tree crop sector at present are the old age of plantations and their low productivity. There have been no significant replanting activities for the last twenty five years due to the war, and a large proportion of the country’s tree crop plantations are now at the end of their productive life, necessitating replanting. The main constraint to the implementation of a large scale replanting program, particularly for smallholders, is the lack of long term credit. This situation is consistent with the experience in other tree crop producing countries in Asia or Africa, where commercial banks are generally reluctant to provide long term credits to farmers for tree crops mainly due to the crops’ long gestation period, the perceived high credit risk and the lack of collateral.
The proposed project objective is “to increase poor tree crop farmers’ income opportunities by rehabilitating unproductive farms and supporting tree crop replanting and new planting and by supporting preparation activities toward the future development of the tree crop sector and effective smallholder participation”. The proposed project will be the first, preparatory stage of a long term pro-poor growth program focused on developing the tree crop sector. The target group will be poor smallholders in the main country’s tree crop producing counties.
The objective of this PMP is to ensure that adverse environmental and social impacts as a result of agro-chemical use in achieving the proposed project objectives will be avoided or, where unavoidable, will be minimized, as required by World Bank Safeguards Policy OP 4.09.
This policy is designed to strengthen capacity of the beneficiary country’s regulatory framework and institutions to promote and support safe, effective and environmentally sound pest management (i.e. to promote the use of biological or environmental control and to avoid using harmful pesticides. It applies to all projects involving pest management, whether or not the project finances pesticides.
More specifically the policy aims to:
Ascertain that pest management activities in Bank-financed operations are based on integrated approaches and seek to reduce reliance on synthetic chemical pesticides in agricultural projects;
Ensure that health and environmental hazards associated with pest management, especially the use of pesticides, are minimized and can be properly managed by the user;
As necessary, support policy reform and institutional capacity development to (i) enhance implementation of Integrated Pest management (IPM)-based pest management, and (ii) regulate and monitor the distribution and use of pesticides.
This policy is triggered whenever the procurement of pesticides or pesticide application equipment is envisaged directly or indirectly by a project and thus will apply to the proposed project where a subproject includes the use of pesticides as part of the revitalization process. Thus the requirement for this Pest Management Plan (PMP).
Liberian Agro-chemical Policy, Regulatory Framework and Institutional Capacity
There appears to be little joined up policy and regulation in Liberia concerning the importation and use of agro-chemicals. Three agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) all are able to issue licenses agro-chemical imports, but do not necessarily keep each other informed. The EPA under the Environmental Protection Management Law, Sections 52 (Management of Pesticides, Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Materials), 53 (address misuse of these substances) and 55 (Importation and Exportation of Hazardous Waste) has the power to address misuse of such substances through fines, seizure and other legal instruments. The MoA’s Quarantine Division is responsible for recording all the chemicals which are imported into the country and checking them for their compliance to the international laws (mainly respect of Stockholm Protocol) and to the allowed list of pesticides, while the MoCI’s Bureau of Standards is responsible for keeping records of all good that enter the country.
Pest Problems in the Liberian Tree Crop Sector
Plant pests and diseases, on visual evident, result in a significant reduction in crop yields throughout Liberia. The extent of such crop loss is not documented, nor has there been any significant research into their control. The full extent of pesticide use in Liberia is unknown, but some indication might be obtained from the list of import licenses issued by the three licensing Agencies. However, this information is not readily available. Even so, official records will not account for the importation though the non-formal channels. The lack of coordination and regulation means that there is very little date available re the type and quantity of agro-chemicals in the market and even though lists of banned chemicals exist, the lack of public awareness and lax border controls (aid by absence of effective regulation) makes it possible for banned and non-registered agro – chemicals to continue to be used by agricultural sector.
The above not withstanding, very few small farmers in Liberia use any form of chemical pest/disease management due to cost, absence of credit and in many cases lack of local availability. Where they use plant protection chemicals, it is frequently indiscriminate due to lack of application knowledge and ignorance of it impacts on the wider environment and human health. The awareness and use of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM)17 is virtually non-existent.
However, the fact that most small farmers do not currently use chemical plant protection chemicals and that these are costly inputs should be seem as potential opportunity to promote the use of IPM techniques during the project implementation, though it must be recognized that where pest and diseases are in epidemic proportions (as Black Pod and Swollen Shoot are in Cocoa) this will be a Herculean task requiring extensive and intense eradication. Regardless, a concerted effort should be made during the implementation to convince the farmers of the economic and environmental benefits of the IPM.
Pest Management and Pesticide Use Policy/Strategy
The general pest control objectives are to:
Control, and/or eradicate and maintain good surveillance of the major economic pests whose outbreaks are responsible for large-scale damage/loss to agricultural production.
Provide protection to man and animals against vectors of deadly diseases.
The pest management methods should be a mix of the following:
Mechanical Methods: Hand picking, digging, trapping;
Biological Methods: Use of parasites and predators, NPV, Bt, etc.
Chemical method: Use of eco-friendly and bio-friendly insecticides, fungicides and pesticides.
Pest Management Plan
This pest management plan has been prepared as part of the ESMF in the context of the Liberian Small Holder Tree Crop Revitalization Support Project with proposed funding by The World Bank
This project has been prepared to support the rehabilitation of smallholder rubber, oil palm, cocoa and coffee farms throughout Liberia. The strategy is to provide loans and expertise to farmer organizations to initially clear the underbrush and prune their existing tree crops and provide limited inputs to increase production insitu, and later to clear and replant their farms to increase production with new stock and additional inputs as necessary.
Included in the proposed revitalization program is the use of agro-chemicals to control pests and diseases. It will be up to the farmer organizations to decide the amount and type of insecticides, pesticides, etc. and the application equipment, thus part of the rational for this management plan is to provide guidance. Currently farmers use little or no agro-chemicals so it is expected that the loan support will lead to an increase in the use of agro-chemicals. Such an increase of pesticides uses could potentially be harmful to both the environment and public health. In accordance with the World Bank safeguard policies (OP 4.09 pest management) this pest management plan has been prepared to ensure that future sub projects do not engage in unsafe pest management.
The objective will be that the type of insecticides used should:
have negligible adverse human health effects.
be effective against the target species.
have minimal effect on non-target species and the natural environment.
take into account the need to prevent the development of resistance in pests
The methods, timing, and frequency of pesticide application should such as to avoid or minimize damage to natural enemies, as well as for personnel applying them.
The objectives of this plan are:
to assist the country to develop its regulatory framework and build capacity within its institutions to promote and support safe, effective, and environmentally sound pest management;
provide collaborative linkages between the project and international IPM18 groups to assist in the development of a national IPM policy, to strengthen national and local capacity to address pest problems faced by STCRSP farmers, to encourage national and local compliance with international conventions and guidelines on pesticides, and to further develop IPM through awareness of resources developed elsewhere;
provide an information basis for stakeholder groups to establish functional mechanisms enabling farmers to identify, understand and manage pest and vector problems in the rehabilitation of their agriculture production, reduce personal and environmental health risks associated with pesticide use, and protect beneficial biodiversity such as natural enemies of pests and pollinators;
assist farmers to understand and respond to the external IPM environment the affect their livelihoods (For example, stringent minimum pesticide residue levels that limit the potential for farmers to benefit from international trade opportunities);
promote participatory approaches in IPM for farmers to learn, test, select and implement “best-bet" IPM options to reduce losses due to arthropod pests, diseases and weeds.
promote biodiversity monitoring to serve as early warning systems on pest status, alien invasive species, beneficial species, and migratory pests.
enable the STCRSP project to monitor pests and disease vectors and mitigate negative environmental and social impacts associated with pest/vector control in the tree crop sector;
1. Diagnose pest problems affecting the Tree Crop Sector as the basis for stakeholders to develop a shared vision on priority needs and IPM opportunities.
2. Develop the capacity of stakeholders (especially the farmers) to understand and manage pest problems through farmer participatory learning approaches with complementary participatory research on feedback issues emanating from farmers' field experiences.
3. Extend public awareness of the issue through organizing stakeholder workshops (including EPA, MoA, MoCI, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other relevant Agencies to establish a consensus to enforce the regulation and to create a network of exchange of information as pesticides are concerned leading to a regular reliable importation inventory and records.
4. Introduce and promote biological controls as alternatives to chemical control regimes and thereby reduce environmental and personal health risks in agriculture:
5. Establish biodiversity monitoring schemes for early warning on changes in pest and vector status, natural enemy complexes, pollinators, and detect migratory pests and introduction of alien invasive species.
6. Develop/update a national IPM policy including national legislation governing the registration, manufacture/importation, distribution and use of pesticides in order to promote compliance with the World Bank's safeguard Policies, OP 4.09 and BP 4.01, and other international conventions and guidelines on pesticide use
7. Establish partnership linkages with international organizations for assistance to develop a national IPM policy framework and establish a national IPM advisory and oversight committee (multi-stakeholder composition).
The process for training and demonstrations could involve identification of a small subset of progressive farmers in each district. The farmers selected for training can then in turn train the other farmers in their respective area. This process is critical because the main benefits of IPM depend on all farmers in a contiguous area practicing IPM; otherwise, the benefits are much less likely to materialize.
Improved farmer awareness of the health hazards of misuse and mishandling of agro-chemicals and the advantages of IPM
Introduction of training in the proper handling, usage and storage or agro-chemicals, and the proper disposal of chemical containers.
Increased awareness about efficacy and advantages of eco-friendly alternatives of chemical pesticides.
Development of promotional material, dissemination of IPM through field demonstrations, canvassing through extension personnel and NGOs
Dissemination of information about traditional and IPM techniques and practices used for the control of insect/pests.
Improving the information and knowledge base on pests, chemical pesticide use, health impacts, IPM use and trends across the country. This would be included in the monitoring and evaluation schedule suggested for the project.
Farmers using newly acquired knowledge to choose compatible methods to reduce losses in production and post-harvest storage.
Ripple effect spreading out from participating communities to other agriculture activities and from participating farmer to other farmers.
The success of IPM depends largely on developing and sustaining institutional and human capacity to facilitate informed decision making by farmers, and empower farmers to integrate scientific and traditional knowledge to solve location-specific problems, and respond to market opportunities. This will be particularly important in Liberia as much of the infrastructure and knowledge base was destroyed during the civil war.
In IPM, there is the need for farmers to accurately identify and diagnose pests and pest problems, understand tropic relationships that underpin biological control opportunities, and use such knowledge to guide pesticide and other kinds of interventions. Through the participatory approaches the STCRSP can build local capacity to ensure rapid spread and adoption of ecologically sound and environmentally friendly management practices in participating communities.
A foundation element of the capacity building exercise is diagnosis of pest problem and IPM opportunities to provide baseline information that will enable stakeholders to develop a shared vision on felt needs and IPM strategies. Through informal interviews, field visits, and planning meetings, stakeholders will develop joint understanding of the key issues affecting production and develop a common IPM plan based on agreed concerns.
Training at all levels will be based on participatory learning modules for capacity building in
IPM information delivery. The participants will be equipped with skills in facilitation, group dynamics, non-formal education methods to encourage adult learning. Farmer training will focus on farmers' group learning for informed decision making. Group learning will be experiential through farmer-led field trials and discussions on practical aspects of crop and livestock production and pest management including indigenous knowledge/technologies.
Farmer group learning will be facilitated by Training or Trainers trained men and women extension agents and on farm demonstrations with organized field days where farmers can participate in the analyze of results and recommend corrective action based on the results of their own analyses. Field day participants will include representatives of national and local policy makers from government, development agencies, NGOs, rural and national press media, researcher institutes, and national extension services. The Farmers Organizations established as part of the STCRSP will create a new learning fora which will help to increase scientific literacy, ownership of biological and ecological information and knowledge, and informed decisions making habits in the communities.
Also trained farmers can be expected to promote secondary adoption of proven options. For example, each farmer trained will train other farmers and explain new/improved IPM practices they have learnt.
Annual work plans should be developed in consultation with the relevant stakeholders to indicate institutions and networks that will be required to provide research and development support. The principal actors will include a number of local institutions directly involved in implementing the PMP while other agencies (partners) will include international and national institutions to provide technical and other support for implementation of the plan.
The PIU will need to collaborate with relevant line agencies (e.g. MoA, EPA), NGO’s and International Agencies to:
Provide expertise in planning, training and field implementation of IPM, and contribute field staff to be trained as IPM Trainers;
Prepare and produce field guides and other relevant IPM information materials;
review current policies and adjust/develop policy guidance/oversight to support the implementation of the PMP;
Serve as technical reviewers for subprojects submitted by FOs for funding under STCRSP; Provide technical support in pest and natural enemy identification, including new and adaptive research;
Assist to organize study tours and networking with international IPM groups.
PIU responsibilities are to standardize training needs assessment across sites; and organize national workshops to develop participatory learning modules, liaise with FOs to plan training implementation; provide technical support such as in preparing and delivering specific training materials, and evaluating resource materials; identify and select suitable local training resource persons and materials; and prepare training progress reports.
The County Agricultural Coordinators(CAC) and relevant line agencies will collaborate with the PIU to identify and organize farmers groups for training; prepare, organize and supervise training implementation plan; verify reports of persisting pest problems and farmers training needs; monitor performance of farmer trainers and post-training assignments; and prepare training progress reports.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The M&E Section of the PIU will evaluate the PMP component for over-all effectiveness and that of the IPM initiative. The M & E will involve establishing a base line on the current status to evaluate the impact of project interventions. The M & E of IPM will be based on pre-defined parameters such as adoption of biological and mechanical methods of pest control, use of parasites and predators, adoption of bio-pesticides.
The following indicators will be incorporated into a participatory monitoring and evaluation
Capacity to inform: Number of trainers trained; number and type of participatory farmer training sessions; category and number of participants reached beyond baseline figures; practical skills/ techniques most frequently demanded by extension agents and farmers; and crop management practices preferred by farmers.
Capacity to motivate: Number of farmers who correctly apply the skills they had learnt; new management practices adopted most by farmers; category and number of other farmers trained by project trained farmers; types of farmer-innovations implemented; level of pest damage and losses; rate of adoption of IPM practices; impact of the adoption of IPM on production performance.
Major benefits: Increase in crop production; increase in farm revenue; social benefits: e.g., improvement in the health status of farmers; level of reduction of pesticide purchase and use; and number of FO families using preventive mechanisms against diseases. Farmer educational activities will be central to the exit strategy which should feature increased roles and responsibilities of committed national and local communities to take primary responsibilities in the development of action plans and expertise exchange for IPM development and promotion.
Institutional Strengthening: Type and number of participants in short-term technical study visits19 for hands-on laboratory and field training, and farmer participatory learning will help to create favorable conditions for continuity of IPM processes and results. These study tours should involve representatives of the regulatory authorities, implementing agencies and FOs.
The budget for this PMP are included in the ESMF Budget in Chapter 7 of the main report, or otherwise can be covered in the overall project budget.