So what's the problem?
Chronic difficulties in agriculture, brought on by economic problems and accentuated by unfavourable climatic conditions, have accumulated over several years, and continue to seriously undermine domestic food production in DPR Korea. Specifically maize production is facing extensive problems due to damage inflicted by agricultural pests including the Asian corn borer, which causes yield losses in the range of 10 to 30%, depending on the year and location; although extremely high damage levels of up to 80% have been know to occur in DPR Korea.
Despite a number of serious problems related to the provision of farm inputs, there is chronic shortage of chemical pesticides, which in turn has greatly reduced the capacity of co-operative farms to produce sufficient food for the public distribution system. The overall objective of this EuropeAid funded action is to achieve a sustainable increase in maize production on participating co-operative farms of at least 20%. This will contribute to improved and stabilised food production on co-operative farms and hence food availability to the population. The proposed action will improve nutrition of vulnerable groups by means of improved food quantity and quality.
Maize is one of the most important crops in DPR Korea. It is planted over an area of 495,000 hectares (almost 20% of the total arable land in DPR Korea) and is an important source of calories and protein for human nutrition. In DPR Korea, maize is processed by milling to give a number of intermediary products such as flour and meal. These materials in turn are used to produce a large number of foods including noodles, cake and bread. The by-products of milling include the maize germ and the seed-coat. The former is used as a source of high quality edible oil, which is particularly scarce in DPR Korea.
What is this project doing?
This project aims to achieve sustainable control of Asian corn borer through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). We will do this by rearing and providing biological control agents to co-operative farms as sustainable and environmentally-friendly direct plant protection measures. All the measures proposed in this action will be accompanied by extensive capacity building, thus enabling target groups to implement IPM independently and to apply the newly acquired knowledge on a nationwide scale in order to ensure long-term self-reliance and sustainability. Through the implementation of IPM the proposed actions aim to overcome persistent technical and organisational deficiencies which result in instability in the availability, distribution and use of food by the target groups.
Overall, this will ultimately lead to stabilised food production and the benefits will be experienced by the entire population of DPR Korea.
Results so far
In order to implement sustainable production of Trichogramma wasps in DPR Korea, a design for the mass- and stock rearing of the wasps was developed to suit local conditions. This design was tested by partners, and adaptations made. Selection criteria for the location of these facilities were elaborated, and 21 locations were chosen by local partners and CABI. A production workshop was set up to assemble all the required technical equipment for the local design at the Central Plant Protection Station (CPPS). The equipment was then distributed to each location batch-by-batch before the start of the production. In total, 24 County Trichogramma Rearing Facilities have been established with production outputs covering about 20,000 hectares of maize fields belonging to 320 cooperative farms in 21 counties of North and South Pyongang, North and South Hwanghae Provinces, and the Pyongyang City District. Seven of these rearing facilities are responsible for stock culture rearing. In order to make the facilities self-sustainable and economically viable, owner agreements including business plans have been developed and signed. Moreover, a quality control strategy built upon international standards was implemented in order to guarantee a supply of highly efficient Trichogramma wasps to realise the anticipated yield increase, and also to ensure sustainability of the mass rearing process.
Two-week training courses on rearing Trichogramma wasps have been provided for the 24 responsible facility managers at the Hengshui Tianyi Biological Control Company in China. In addition, the production staff have been provided with specific technical training on mass rearing biological control agents. More than 60 farm extension specialists from the co-operative farms have been given a 6-day training course on releasing Trichogramma. These new trainers have passed on their acquired knowledge to almost 1,000 work team and sub-work team leaders of the cooperative farms. These trained leaders are now able to pass on their knowledge to at least 50,000 farmers in their own work/sub-work teams.
In addition, educational materials for participatory knowledge transfer have been jointly developed by CABI and local partner institutions, as well as comprehensive educational tools and training curricula. Copies of the 'Trichogramma rearing manual' and of a 'Farmer's maize IPM manual' were widely distributed to target groups. A video of 'Rearing of Trichogramma wasps' has been developed by AAS-PPI for use at the training centre, and 2,300 copies of the 'Using Trichogramma in agriculture' video were widely distributed to cooperative farms.
Asia briefing paper maize IPMMaize activities flyer
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Arming DPR Korea's farmers with tools to tackle soil pests
Partnering to help DPR Korea improve food security
Promoting sustainable agriculture for DPR Korea's crops
by R Funt, H Hall
22 March 2013
Paperback / 9781845937911 / £37.50 / $72.50 / €50.00
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