Pesticide Policies and Farm Behavior: The Introduction of Regulations for Integrated Pest Management
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAgriculture. 2021, 11 (9), . 10.3390/agriculture11090828
Integrated pest management (IPM) was introduced in the 1960s as a response to increasing pesticide use and has since evolved from being understood mainly as an economic issue to also including environmental and human health considerations. The EU has made IPM mandatory for all farmers through the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD). Using a mixed-methods approach, this paper examines how Norwegian cereal farmers have responded to this requirement. The qualitative results show that most farmers have an understanding of IPM that goes beyond economic considerations only. The quantitative results display that farmers’ intrinsic motivation for IPM changed after introduction of the SUD. There is increased emphasis on using methods other than spraying, producing grain without traces of pesticides, and preventing pesticide resistance. Farmers’ self-reported knowledge of IPM increased, and 41% of farmers stated that they use IPM to a greater extent than before the SUD was introduced. These results demonstrate that mandatory IPM requirements have been a successful strategy for increasing farmers use of IPM in Norway. Clearer IPM provisions and increased intrinsic motivation for IPM among farmers will, however, be important to reduce the risks from pesticides further.