Farmer during the AESA presentation

AESA methodology

The following methodology was used in IPM training where the participants were learning to do an AESA in rice. For other crops, the approach could be slightly different, but the basics are the same.

  • Go to the field in groups (about 5 farmers per group). Walk across the field and choose 10 plants randomly. Observe keenly each of these plants and record your observations:
    • Plant: observe the plant height, number of tillers, crop stage, deficiency symptoms, etc.
    • Pests: observe and count pests at different places on the plant.
    • Defenders (natural enemies): observe and count parasitoids and predators.
    • Diseases: observe leaves and stems and identify any visible disease symptoms.
    • Rats: count numbers of plants affected by rats.
    • Weeds: observe weeds in the field and their intensity.
    • Water: observe the water situation of the field.
    • Weather: observe the weather condition.
  • While walking in the field, manually collect insects in plastic bags. Use a sweep net to collect additional insects. Collect plant parts with disease symptoms.
  • The group talks about the crop situation. The facilitator will ask questions to initiate the discussion and to stimulate critical thinking.
  • Find a shady place to sit as a group in a small circle for drawing and discussion.
  • If needed, kill the insects with some chloroform on a piece of cotton.
  • Each group will first identify the pests, defenders and diseases collected.
  • Each group will then analyze the field situation in detail and present their observations and analysis in a drawing (the AESA drawing).
  • Each drawing will show a plant/hill representing the field situation. The weather condition, water level, disease symptoms, etc. will be shown in the drawing. Pest insects will be drawn on the left. Defenders (beneficial insects) will be drawn on the right. Write the number next to each insect. Indicate the plant part where the pests and defenders were found. Try to show the interaction between pests and defenders.
  • Each group will discuss the situation and make a crop management recommendation.
  • Farmer during the AESA presentation

  • The small groups then join each other and a member of each group will now present their analysis in front of all participants. A different person will present each week.
  • The facilitator will facilitate the discussion by asking guiding questions and makes sure that all participants (also shy or illiterate persons) are actively involved in this process.
  • Formulate a common conclusion. The whole group should support the decision on what field management is required in the IPM plot.
  • Make sure that the required activities (based on the decision) will be carried out.
  • Keep the drawing for comparison in the following weeks.

Some questions that can be used during the discussion

AESA methodology

  • Summarize the present situation of the field?
  • What aspect is most important at this moment?
  • Is there a big change with last week? What kind of change?
  • Is there any serious pest or disease outbreak?
  • What is the situation of the beneficial insects?
  • Is there a balance in the field between pests and defenders?
  • Were you able to identify all pests and diseases?
  • Do you think the crop is healthy?
  • What management practices are needed at this moment?
  • When will it be done? Who will do it? Make sure that responsibilities for all activities are being discussed.
  • Are you expecting any problems to emerge during the coming week? What problems? How can we avoid it? How can we be prepared?
  • Summarize the actions to be taken.
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