SE Asia

[no-glossary]Indonesian farmers rely on paraquat to increase efficiency and productivity, generating more income and more time for their families. This has been confirmed by recent surveys carried out in two important agricultural districts of Indonesia.
Maize and paddy rice are the major crops grown in Grobogan District, central Java. Since 1999, farmers in Grobogan have been expanding their maize growing. This was initiated by a change in government policy to encourage agroforestry.
Maize can be grown in young teak plantations while the canopy is still sparse. However, the additional cultivated land has put huge pressure on labor requirements.
Barito Kuala is a low lying rice growing district in the south of Kalimantan. For the most part the land is at, or only a few metres above, sea level, and much of it is subject to frequent flooding when the incoming tide pushes water back up the river deltas (see article on tidal rice). Rice is key to Indonesia’s food security. Although Indonesia is the world’s third largest producer of rice, it is also the seventh largest importer, with a current annual deficit of more than one million tonnes.1  Most farmers have been using paraquat since the 1990s.
Why use paraquat?
The surveys showed that in both districts paraquat is extensively used for weed control.

[no-glossary]Paraquat’s economic benefits to farmers and national trade balances have been quantified in a paper published in the journal Outlooks on Pest Management.
Results collated from farm-scale field experiments and surveys in China, the Philippines and Vietnam present strong evidence that using paraquat contributes to significant increases in the annual incomes of smallholder farmers worth up to $1000/ha each year.
The main findings are summarised below.
Vietnam
In Vietnam, maize and tea are examples of important annual and perennial crops, respectively, where the use of paraquat is increasing yields and profitability, and improving the soil. Domestically, maize is in great demand for animal feed and tea is an important export commodity. Both crops are grown on hillsides where plowing and high rainfall can mean huge losses of soil by erosion.

Paraquat's key benefits

Fast action allows earlier planting
Rainfast
Safe to crops
Less labor and fuel use
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Prevents soil erosion
Enhances soil structure and health 
More biodiversity
More yield
More profit

Paraquat is particularly suited to help because of its use in no-till farming and its rainfastness.

[no-glossary]Paraquat’s economic benefits to farmers and national trade balances have been quantified in a paper published in the journal Outlooks on Pest Management.
Results collated from farm-scale field experiments and surveys in China, the Philippines and Vietnam present strong evidence that using paraquat contributes to significant increases in the annual incomes of smallholder farmers worth up to $1000/ha each year.
The main findings are summarised below.
Vietnam
In Vietnam, maize and tea are examples of important annual and perennial crops, respectively, where the use of paraquat is increasing yields and profitability, and improving the soil. Domestically, maize is in great demand for animal feed and tea is an important export commodity. Both crops are grown on hillsides where plowing and high rainfall can mean huge losses of soil by erosion.

Paraquat's key benefits

Fast action allows earlier planting
Rainfast
Safe to crops
Less labor and fuel use
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Prevents soil erosion
Enhances soil structure and health 
More biodiversity
More yield
More profit

Paraquat is particularly suited to help because of its use in no-till farming and its rainfastness.

[no-glossary]Paraquat’s economic benefits to farmers and national trade balances have been quantified in a recent publication. Results collated from farm-scale field experiments and surveys in China, the Philippines and Vietnam present strong evidence that using paraquat contributes to significant increases in the annual incomes of smallholder farmers worth up to $1000/ha each year.
The full paper published in the journal Outlooks on Pest Management can be read here. The main findings are summarised below.
Vietnam
In Vietnam, maize and tea are examples of important annual and perennial crops, respectively, where the use of paraquat is increasing yields and profitability, and improving the soil. Domestically, maize is in great demand for animal feed and tea is an important export commodity. Both crops are grown on hillsides where plowing and high rainfall can mean huge losses of soil by erosion.

Paraquat's key benefits

Fast action allows earlier planting
Rainfast
Safe to crops
Less labor and fuel use
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Prevents soil erosion
Enhances soil structure and health 
More biodiversity
More yield
More profit

Paraquat is particularly suited to help because of its use in no-till farming and its rainfastness.

[no-glossary]Paraquat is an important tool in the armoury of Filipino farmers in their battle against weeds. Farming is one of the most important industries in the Philippines. More than one third of the country’s labor-force works on farms. Most farms are small, averaging only 2 ha in size, and farmers need to grow a variety of higher value crops in order to be profitable. This is where the agronomic and environmental properties of paraquat and its versatility are invaluable.
A recent survey of Filipino farmers and their use of paraquat has emphasised its economic benefits.
Benefits of paraquat
In the Philippines paraquat is used in crops ranging from staples like rice and maize, to a huge range of vegetables, and to plantation crops like sugar cane.
Paraquat can be used to control a broad spectrum of weeds before planting and later between the rows of growing crops. The soil properties of paraquat mean that it cannot damage the crop via the roots or adversely affect the establishment of following crops. This is because paraquat is deactivated immediately on contact with soil. Similarly, seeds are not prevented from germinating, so new weed cover can be allowed to grow and protect the soil from erosion before being removed, when necessary, by another spray round.

[no-glossary]Using paraquat for weed control in oil palm plantations can address a number of the criteria for sustainability defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). These include protecting soil and water quality, and reducing erosion. As part of a wider approach, smallholders undergoing RSPO certification are being shown how to grow more profitable crops while using all inputs more effectively and safely.
Worldwide, 33% of palm oil is produced from crops grown by smallholders. In Thailand, however, smallholders supply 70% of the palm oil produced in the country, so this important group of growers has been a focus of attention for improving sustainability1.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Facts about Thai oil palm smallholders

120,000 farmers in Thailand grow oil palm
98% of these are smallholders
76% of land under oil palm in Thailand is cultivated by smallholders
7 hectares average holding size
70% of production is supplied by smallholders

Oil Palm (Elaeis guineenis) is the leading crop in the global production of vegetable oil. It provides by far the highest yields per hectare, typically 5 to 10 times that of crops such as soybeans, sunflower and canola (oilseed rape). Palm oil also has the particular quality of being a saturated fat and semi-solid rather than liquid at room temperature.

[no-glossary]Maize (corn) along with wheat and rice is one of the world’s top crops. Maize provides not only the fast-foods of western society - breakfast cereals, sweet corn and popcorn – but also the staple foods for much of the world’s population in developing countries where it is used to make porridge, bread and tortillas. All around the world, maize grain is a basic livestock feed, and the crop can be cut while still green to make silage as a winter feed. Also, over recent years maize has been increasingly used as a feedstock for the production of bioethanol.
Maize, perhaps more than any other crop, reaches both high and low extremes of sophistication, mechanisation and technology in crop production. All farmers, however, need to maximise the yield and quality of their produce, while saving the costs, time and labor needed to grow it. Protecting maize from weeds, pests and diseases is essential to avoiding heavy losses in yields and quality of grain. Weed control is usually most important. Paraquat is a non-selective herbicide which, when used in integrated weed management systems, can provide the solution to weed problems.
As maize is grown so widely, and often intensively, its production can create significant environmental impact.

[no-glossary]An assessment of the benefits of training Thai farmers in the safe use of crop protection products such as paraquat has shown that good product stewardship clearly has positive effects on the care farmers take in storage, handling and spraying.
The survey conducted by Kasetsart University also revealed the rich diversity of crops grown in western Thailand.
The training was conducted as part of a wider project, ‘The Safe and Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops’, aimed at improving the quality of vegetable production systems in Thailand according to internationally recognised standards of Good Agricultural Practice. Export markets are important to the country and its farmers, so meeting stringent requirements for quality and sustainability are essential.
Successful training
Two hundred farmers participated in the training. They were shown how to store, mix and apply crop protection products safely. The post-training survey indicated that participants are now much more likely to store products in dedicated and secure chemical stores, and to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, aprons and face shields when pouring and mixing with water in the sprayer.

[no-glossary]Tea is a thriving crop in Vietnam and farmers rely on paraquat for a weed control system that reduces soil erosion.  Much of the tea crop is grown on sloping land prone to losing very significant amounts of soil each year.
Results of research conducted by the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute show that using paraquat for weed control instead of hand hoeing can save huge amounts of soil. Paraquat is more effective than glyphosate because it leaves roots intact to anchor the soil.
Tea in Vietnam
Tea is an important industry in Vietnam with six million people involved in production, processing and exporting1. Tea is a native plant to the country and has been cultivated for thousands of years. The industry has been experiencing a rapid expansion since the mid 1990s. Yields have also improved, more than doubling over this period, and now approach the best in Asia2. Exports of tea are increasing and efforts are being made to improve the international image of Vietnamese tea. Vietnamese black tea is generally used in blends.

[no-glossary]Malaysian agriculture has had a wake-up call to the threat posed by herbicide resistant weeds. Paraquat has an essential role to play in avoiding this potentially huge problem. A report by the Paraquat Information Center of the discovery of populations the noxious weed goosegrass (Eleusine indica) resistant to the non-selective herbicide glufosinate has now been confirmed by publication in a scientific journal1.
A vegetable farmer in Malacca state and planters at an oil palm nursery in Pahang state had suspected that glufosinate was failing to control goosegrass. Subsequent investigations have now confirmed that one population shows a two-fold resistance and the other an eight-fold resistance.
These are the first cases of weed resistance to glufosinate to be recorded anywhere in the world after more than 25 years of use. This is reminiscent of the fall of glyphosate to the first resistant weeds in the mid 1990’s. Escalating use of glyphosate over a similar period ultimately resulted in resistance. The second weed species to have confirmed glyphosate resistance was also goosegrass in Malaysia2.