Given the nature of this course and those who participate in it, we are pretty sure that almost all of you have something to do with vegetable pest and disease management. Some of you are providing general advice to client farmers. Some of you are involved in selling products or solutions to vegetable farmers. Some of you have teaching jobs in universities and give classes on vegetable production or crop protection. Some of you may even be in the business of growing and selling vegetables. Whatever your profession, because you signed up for this course, we know that you want to improve your knowledge of IPM approaches in vegetable production.
But vegetable IPM is difficult and the problems with effective and responsible pest management in vegetable production are many and varied. Selecting the most effective and efficient pest and disease management options depends very much on local conditions and even the personal situation of the grower. There is currently much interest, and potential profit, in growing vegetables with less or even no synthetic inputs. There are bitter and ongoing debates over the safety and benefits of genetically modified crops and even conventionally produced commercial hybrids. Laws are getting tougher regarding the amount and kinds of chemical residues that are found on produce sold in local markets or exported to other countries. But the common thread that relates all of these is the need to come up with sustainable solutions that ensure that farmers stay in business, make a decent profit on their enterprises and protect the natural resource base on which their livelihoods depend. As a Jakarta banana grower puts it,
“Nature is not an inheritance from our forefathers. It is something that our grandchildren have entrusted us to take care of."