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Assessment of Pesticide Use Reduction Strategies for Thai Highland Agriculture

Combining Econometrics and Agent-based Modelling


Christian Grovermann

This study combines econometrics and agent-based modelling to evaluate the impacts of a range of pesticide use reduction strategies in the context of Thai highland agriculture. Pesticide productivity and pesticide overuse are quantified, while determinants of the adoption of innovations in pesticide use reduction are estimated. On that basis, the Mathematical Programming-based Multi Agent System (MPMAS), a bio-economic simulation model, is used to ex-ante assess the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in combination with a series of market-based instruments that boost the transition to more sustainable pest control practices. The MPMAS simulation results demonstrate that, over five years, it is possible to bring down levels of pesticide use significantly without income trade-offs for farm agents. A proportional tax, increasing the price of synthetic pesticides by 50% on average, together with bio-pesticide subsidies for IPM proves to be the most cost-effective and practicable policy package. IPM practices are adopted by up to 75% of farm agents and pesticide use reductions reach up to 34%.
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First of all, I am very grateful to my supervisors at the Department of Land Use Economics in the Tropics and Subtropics, Hohenheim University: Prof. Dr. Thomas Berger and Dr. Pepijn Schreinemachers (who now works at the World Vegetable Centre in Taiwan). Their critical feedback, encouragement and technical skills greatly supported my research, and I was able to learn a lot from them regarding research content and methodology, as well as scientific rigour in general, all of which will be of great use to me in the future. They also supported me to receive funding from the Collaborative Research Centre G1 project, ‘The Uplands Program’ (SFB 564) and to spent time at the project’s field office in Thailand. In this regard, I would also like to acknowledge the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), which financed SFB 564, as well as the Hermann and Edith-Karla Eiselen Commemoration Foundation, which supported the publication of my dissertation through a grant.

Being part of the Collaborative Research Centre not only provided me with the necessary funding, but also gave me an opportunity to gain experience as part of a large-scale, interdisciplinary scientific project, one located at the nexus of applied and fundamental research. It also allowed me to gain important insights into field research, as well as collaborative work and state-of-the-art science. I am very thankful to my second official thesis supervisor, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Franz Heidhues, who was the Director of The Uplands Program for a number of years. Discussing...

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