Vietnam and the Netherlands working together on integrated pest management

Vietnam, like many other countries, grapples with pressing issues concerning the use and toxicity of pesticides in agriculture. In response to these challenges, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal of reducing the number of chemical pesticide brands registered in the country by 30%, with a strong emphasis on replacing them with bioproducts. The Netherlands, known for its extensive expertise in biological crop protection and sustainable farming methods, has emerged as a valuable partner in this endeavor. Several biocontrol agents (BCA’s) from the Netherlands are already available in Vietnam, and more await approval. The collaborative efforts between these two nations have opened up new possibilities for promoting environmentally friendly agricultural practices and reducing the dependence on agrochemicals.

Seminar facilitating knowledge exchange

On the 27th of September, 2023  the Plant Protection Department (PPD) in Vietnam collaborated with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to organize a seminal event focused on the application of biological control agents within the framework of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). A diverse audience of approximately 190 participants attended the seminar, including representatives from national and local government, business stakeholders, cooperatives, farmers, and students.

The seminar commenced with PPD providing an overview of the success stories of BCAs in Vietnam. Subsequently, two Dutch experts delivered presentations on Integrated Pest Management. Mrs. Claudia Jilesen, a policy officer specializing in plant protection at the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), shed light on the comprehensive nature of IPM. She emphasized that IPM encompasses not only biological control but also includes factors like using healthy propagation material, prevention, pest monitoring, defining action thresholds, and exploring various management options.   Dr. Tibor Bukovinszki, a senior entomologist at NPPO, presented insights on the use of BCAs and highlighted global trends in this domain. Dr. Bukovinszki's presentation offered valuable insights into the versatility of BCA’s in pest management. Please find here all the presentations of the seminar:

Engaging discussions and breakout sessions

Following the expert presentations, participants engaged in three breakout sessions, each focused on a different aspect of IPM and BCA’s.

Session 1: What are practical issues from perspective of industry and growers?

Participants discussed challenges related to application conditions, limited availability of agrochemicals with a reduced impact on natural enemies, fluctuating agro product prices, and the necessity of government support in registering and utilizing natural enemies.

Session 2: What are the incentives to adopt BCA’s?

The discussions revolved around the incentives for growers to adopt BCA’s, which included improving agro product quality, reducing agrochemical usage, promoting of sustainable agriculture, improved food safety and preserving biodiversity.

Session 3: What is needed to increase the uptake of BCA’s in Vietnam?

To increase BCA uptake, vital steps include policies and incentives for farmers, government-business collaboration for technology transfer, product branding, awareness campaigns, and training programs for BCA application need to be taken. Improving awareness about BCA’s benefits through propaganda activities, supporting policies, research centers, incentives for BCA production, communication support, and better agrochemical management.

Continued collaboration

The seminar's findings were discussed in a bilateral meeting between Vietnam and the Netherlands later in the week. Both nations agreed to continue their collaboration, particularly focusing on risk assessment of BCA’s and the effective implementation of IPM practices. The seminar served as a crucial step in advancing sustainable agriculture practices in Vietnam, aligning with the nation's commitment to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides and promoting the use of biological crop protection methods. The partnership between Vietnam and the Netherlands highlights the significance of international cooperation in addressing global agricultural challenges and transitioning towards more environmentally friendly farming practices.

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