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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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2. Materials


2.1 Study area selection and data collection

The Mae Sa watershed area in northern Thailand was selected as the primary data collection area for the study, and was one of the two main study sites in Thailand used by The Uplands Program, a collaboration between Hohenheim University in Germany and several universities in Thailand and Vietnam. The overall aim of the project was to carry out research aimed at helping conserve natural resources and improve rural livelihoods (Heidhues and Pape, 2007; Schreinemachers et al., 2013). The Mae Sa watershed is a good example of the benefits and problems derived from agricultural commercialisation. Mountainous areas across the region have experienced a rapid intensification of agriculture activities in recent years. Favoured by a cooler climate and greater rainfall, and stimulated by recent improvements in infrastructure, upland areas such as the Mae Sa watershed have become important suppliers of temperate and sub-tropical fruit and vegetables in Thailand. The study area is located about 30 km northwest of the regional capital Chiang Mai, and is characterised by good market access and intensive upland agriculture. It covers an area of 140 km2, with altitudes ranging from 400 m to 1,600 m above sea level (masl). The farming land around the study villages – from where the data was collected, and which are located in the central watershed and the surrounding hills – is situated at altitudes between 800 and 1,400 masl.

Since the prohibition of opium production in the...

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