1.6. Where Poison is Sold as Medicine: An Examination of the Use of Pesticides in a Rice-Growing Village in West Java

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Last Updated 10 October 2016

James J. Fox (The Australian National University)
Yunita T. Winarto (Universitas Indonesia)


This paper provides a systematic survey of pesticide use in a single village in Indromayu in West Java. It involves an examination of 100 farmers’ utilisation of a range of pesticides available to them for the cultivation of rice over a period of two seasons in 2013-2014. The majority of the insecticides used are persistent broad-spectrum, highly toxic products that are particularly destructive to the natural enemies/predators of the pests they are supposed to control. The spraying of pesticides is excessive: during the 2014 dry season, a majority of farmers (68%) sprayed from 10 times to 15 times, using a cocktail of as many as five different products. As a result, the use of pesticides for farmers has become the major production cost for rice cultivation. The farmers are paying a high price for poisons that do not protect their crops.