Yunita T. Winarto (Universitas Indonesia)
James Fox played a significant role in the Presidential declaration of Integrated Pest Management as the national strategy of pest/disease control in Indonesia in the midst of 1980s following the severe damages by brown plant hopper (BPH) to rice production. In one decade following its declaration, the IPM training method in Farmer Field Schools was spread to many countries across the globe. Unfortunately, the “history is repeating itself” when another outbreak of BPH was damaging paddy and affecting rice production in 2010—2012. James Fox’s great attention and passion motivated him to examine the recurrent
outbreaks of BPH and, in collaboration with some Indonesian scientists, tried to repeat the steps of approaching the Indonesian President at that period (2012). Though some steps were taken by the President’s Advisory Board, it was an unsuccessful move. The survey held in 2013 by IPB team and 2015 by UI team reveals the persistent overuse of pesticides by farmers in some places in Java. Farmers have also been using the term of “obat” despite the reality that pesticides are poison (racun). The paper examines the persisting “false minds” (sesat pikir) among farmers and other stakeholders, including those in authority. Other issues to be discussed are: why the “history is repeating itself” in the case of pest outbreaks and “why the history could not be repeated” in relation to the efforts of changing the government’s policies in pest/disease control. Where do we go then for the future of rice production in Indonesia and farmers’ welfare?
Keywords: integrated pest management, Farmer Field Schools, pesticide use, false minds, obat for pesticides