Pests and Donors in Mali, 1985–90

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<ul><li><p>Pests and </p><p>A.R. KREMER </p><p>Donors in Mali, 1985 - 90 </p><p>Between 1985 and 1988 large-scale spray campaigns were carried out against migratory crop pests in the Sahel. The Malian government and its donors subsequently adopted this emergency response to a natural disaster as a long-term strategy for crop protection in Sahelian Mali. This is financially unsustainable, probably economically wasteful and stunts the development of other plant protection strategies. A similar process has occurred in Burkina Faso, Niger and Sinigal. Donors should therefore exercise critical, collective control over the release of pesticide aid and should subject it to economic evaluation. </p><p>Development donors intend that the projects they finance should be financially sustainable; their benefit should endure after the withdrawal of their subsidy. Projects are, moreover, intended to be economically viable; their value to the beneficiaries should exceed their cost to the donor by a margin representing the oppor- tunity cost of capital. If rapid intervention is required to alleviate a natural or man- made disaster, however, the criteria of financial sustainabililty and economic viability are suspended. This is an emergency, by definition short-term, so the calculus of financial sustainability is irrelevant. Neither can the human suffering be contained by economic cost-benefit analysis. </p><p>Pests are counted among the principal constraints upon agricultural production in the western Sahel (Deuson and Day, 1990). Between 1985 and 1990 the response to a pest emergency was extended to chronic pest problems. In this article I describe how it happened in Mali and refer to similar developments in Burkina Faso, Niger and </p><p>SCnbgal. It is of interest as a study in institutional behaviour and as a criticism of the exclusion of economics (TAMS, 1989) from the planning of pest control projects in the Sahel. </p><p>CONTRASTING PEST PROBLEMS IN THE WESTERN SAHEL: PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PESTS </p><p>It is useful to divide pest attacks into two categories: private and public. Whether a pest is defined as private or public depends solely upon whether villagers could, in principle, control it or not. In brief, the distinguishing feature of private pests is that they are difficult to control away from the crop; once a public pest is in the crop it is too late for control. </p><p>The desert locust (Schistocercu greguriu) and the migratory locust (Locusfu migrutoriu) are prime examples of a public pest. The recommended control strategy is to locate and spray their breeding zones in deserts and marshes respectively; by the time adult swarms are attacking crops, control is much </p><p>DISASTERS VOLUME 16 NUMBER 3 </p></li><li><p>208 A . R . Kremer </p><p>more difficult (Popov, 1988; Rowley, 1989; Skaf, 1988). The grasshopper Oedaleus senegalensis can sometimes be equally evasive, forming swarms which move north and south across the Sahel with the inter- tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), and breed as they go (Popov, 1988, Cheke, 1990). Farmers can kill hatchlings with pesticide dust, but control of winged adults has been based on national campaigns with vehicle- and aircraft-mounted sprayers. It has also been suggested that control should be planned by means of satellite images and computer models of pest populations (Launois and Lecoq, 1990). The weaver bird (Quelea quelea) and the glossy starling (Passer luteus) are greatly feared by rice-farmers, sorghum-growers and communities near the river Niger. These constitute a public pest attack, because control by the destruction of nesting colonies takes place many kilometres from feeding grounds. </p><p>Because the coordination of many donors against many swarms in several countries is the key to campaigns against all these public pests, a special role in them is reserved for the FA0 (Brader, 1988). Wrathall (1988) makes the telling observa- tion that the sudden and spectacular appearance of locust and 0. senegalensis swarms is more attractive to news reporters than the lingering, slow, dull destruction wrought by other pests. As the FA0 high command coordinates an international cam- paign against a visible enemy, the press draws instinctively upon the language of the war correspondent (see for example Walsh, 1988; Lorelle, 1989a and Lorelle, 1989b). </p><p>Other grasshopper species, however, are private pests, amenable to treatment by farmers. Hieroglyphus duganensis, Kraussaria angulifera, Kraussella aniabile, Cataloipus cymbiferus and Diabolocatantops axillaris tend to move short distances into arable fields when the surrounding bush begins to dry out. The millet head-miner (Heliocheilus albipunctella, previously known as Raghuva </p><p>albipunctella) and stem-borer (Coniesta ignefusalis, previously known as Acigona ignefusulis) caterpillars can similarly only be controlled in the field itself (Nwanze, 1985 and Hughes and Rhind, 1988). A third category of major private pests of millet contains the beetles: Pachnoda interrupta, Psdydolytta spp. and Rhinyptia infuscata. No formal research on their movements has been undertaken, but farmers report that they eat where they are born. Weeds and plant diseases such as mildew and smut are clearly suited to in-field control. </p><p>Particular species are labelled above as private or public pests, but these labels could switch, just as Oedaleus senegalensis takes wing upon reaching adulthood and normally sedentary grasshoppers have been observed moving up to 500km downwind per night (Reynolds and Riley, 1988). It is furthermore possible that collective action at village level may increase the effectiveness of private pest control. Gahukars (1984) recommendation that farmers should destroy stem-borer pupae by burning stalks after the harvest would have to be followed by a whole village for each farmer to receive the benefit. </p><p>DONORS RESPONSE TO THE PESTS </p><p>Between 1985 and 1987 the public pests Schistocerca gregariu and Oeduleus senegalensis dominated the scene. In 1985 CIRADs (Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Dbvelop- pement) biomodel of Oedaleus senegalensis was predicting heavy swarms for 1986. The FA0 responded by coordinating the pre- paration of a massive campaign using aircraft- and vehicle-mounted insecticide sprayers. The campaigns total cost was US$40 million, of which US$8.5 million went to Mali (FAO, 1986b). In total, 1.1 million litres of insecticide were applied. The campaign was deemed a success (Walsh, 1986b), and preparations began for 1987, when 1.3 million hectares were </p><p>DISASTERS VOLUME 16 NUMBER 3 </p></li><li><p>Pests and Donors in Mali, 1985-90 209 </p><p>treated, of which 76 per cent were sprayed from the air. TAMS (1989) described the spraying of 1987 to be an overabundant and uncoordinated response to a false alarm, and that its economic or ecological implications had not been considered. </p><p>The desert locust made an appearance in 1986 (FAO, 1986a). There was a small trans-Saharan treatment campaign in 1987, but weather conditions were unfavourable to the locust (Walsh, 1988). In response to dire warnings (Walsh, 1986a and Pedgley, 1987) of impending locust swarms, the FA0 prepared a major spray campaign for 1988 and 1989. This regional operation was to cost US$240 million, of which US$120 million was spent on pesticides (Hanley, 1989). It turned out, however, that a combination of east winds, low tempera- tures and drought had reduced locust populations to unimportance. Only 20 per cent of the reduction was estimated to have resulted from human intervention (Launois, 1989). Mali had requested and received aid from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other donors for a 1988 anti-locust campaign. When it was discovered that the locust problem was insignificant, the national plant protection service turned the pesticides against other field pests and placed the AfDBs financial aid in reserve. The FAO, noting that the aid had been disbursed despite the absence of locusts, declared the Malian campaign crowned with success (FAO, 1989). </p><p>The Government of Mali, with funding from a major multilateral donor, created a national plant protection service, the Service de Protection des VCgetaux (SPV) in 1987. The project document, drawn up by entomologists and plant protection experts, declared that the SPV should be responsible for plant protection in all its aspects. Apart from a reference to the USW,OOO per annum to be paid by the Malian government as salaries and the US$7,000 per annum to be paid for office costs and building maintenance, however, </p><p>the project document said nothing on the funding of recurrent costs. It recommended that third-party donors provide US$2 million for experts, consultants, training and research and it envisaged the training of 200,000 villagers in 1,000 villages in the use of pest control products and equip- ment, but did not s p e c 9 how this material would be financed. </p><p>The training of villagers in insecticide use followed a pattern already established in Niger. Ten young men from a village would be grouped into a plant protection brigade (brigade phytosanitaire) and receive training in the handling and application of insecticide dust and ultra-low volume (ULV) liquid insecticides. With bilateral and multilateral funding, 37 such brigades were formed in 1988,246 in 1989 and over 400 in 1990. Meanwhile, SPV field agents were under pressure to provide free pesticides to villagers without brigades. Many therefore created unofficial or temporary brigades. A study of one SPV base in north western Mali found that official brigades received 45 per cent of the insecticide dust and 58 per cent of the ULV formulation delivered free to farmers. Malian brigades, official and unofficial, treated 200,000-250,000 ha in 1990, an area roughly equal to that covered by vehicle- and aircraft-mounted sprayers. </p><p>By 1988, the threat from the public pests, the desert locust and Oedaleus senegalensis had receded; nobody can tell for how long. The SPV and the brigades, how- ever, still remain. They pose an important question: when the emergency aid has stopped, what is the role of a plant protec- tion service without a campaign budget and a plant protection brigade trained to use free insecticides? </p><p>The answer was to adopt the emerg- ency procedures (an alert, an appeal for pesticide donations, a spray campaign) as a long-term strategy for crop protection in the Sahelian zone of Mali. This solution has advantages for all the institutions con- cerned: SPV officers receive per diem pay- </p><p>DISASTERS VOLUME 16 NUMBER 3 </p></li><li><p>210 A.R. Kremer </p><p>ments and are welcomed as the bringers of aid, a coordinating role remains for the F A 0 and its consultants and commodity aid is relatively simple for bilateral donors to disburse. Those responsible for plant protection funding and project administra- tion in the F A 0 and all bilateral projects are entomologists or plant protection specialists by training; their professional upbringing has not stressed the importance of financial sustainability or economic viability. </p><p>BURKINA FASO, NIGER AND SENEGAL </p><p>This situation is not particular to Mali. The migratory pest threats of 1985-7 also affected Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal so plant protection brigades and donor sub- sidies assumed a similar importance. In 1990, Burkina Faso boasted 45,000 brigade- members. Niger reports 30,000 in 1991, but the training had been conducted so rapidly that no definite figure is available. Aid covered 96 per cent of its plant protection service in 1988. Around two-thirds of pesticides used by Niger brigades in 1991 were funded by a single bilateral donor. Repetto (1985) reported that free pesticides in Senegal were equivalent to an 89 per cent pesticide subsidy, 75 per cent of the cost of Senegals plant protection service was financed by donors in 1988-89. </p><p>FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF DONOR INTERVENTION </p><p>The Malian government is unable to finance the recurrent costs of plant protection. Civil service salaries have been frozen since 1987 and are often paid two or three months in arrears. A head of section in the SPV with 4 years agricultural training would typically receive a salary of US$140 per month. Foreign aid in 1986 was over two-thirds of Malian government expenditure (World Bank, 1988). For lack of funds, the govern- ments present rural development strategy is based upon Opbrations de DkveZoppement </p><p>Rural (ODRs), areas of the country adopted by bilateral donors. </p><p>Neither will the peasant of the Malian Sahel purchase insecticides. ULV insecticide applications cost at least FCFA (Franc de la Communaute Franqaire Africaine) 2,500 (US$8.75) per hectare, which rose to U S 1 3 per hectare in 1986 when they had to be air- freighted to Mali for the Oeduleus senegalensis campaign (TAMS, 1989). By contrast, ODAs Mali Millet Pest Projects survey of 105 farming families in north western Mali in 1990 found the median cash expenditure upon agriculture to be around FCFA 500 (US$1.75) per hectare per annum. Of the samples cash investment, 53 per cent was spent on labour hire, and 47 per cent on cultivation implements, ploughs and hoes. Little cash is available for agriculture because the main worry of families is obtaining food for the growing season. What is available is directed towards labour hire, because a high ratio of land to labour produces financial returns to labour hire for first weeding in excess of 100 per cent (Kremer and Sidibe, 1991). </p><p>It is no surprise, then, that the SPV and its brigades depend upon donor subsidy. Figure 1 shows how the costs of Malis 1990 campaign were shared between the Malian government and donors. Two-thirds of the pesticide donations were provided by two donors, one bilateral and one regional. </p><p>The Malian government paid approx- imately US$246,000 for the SPVs salaries and other remunerations in 1990. Donors supplemented this by 30 per cent with per diem payments to SPV officers on missions. One major bilateral donors per diem payments were worth around five times an officers daily salary, and tended to be concentrated among the heads of section and heads of department in the SPVs head office. </p><p>The fact that the SPV and its brigades continued to receive recurrent cost subsidy after the migratory pests receded would not necessarily constitute a problem in itself. It </p><p>DISASTERS VOLUME 16 NUMBER 3 </p></li><li><p>Pests and Donors in Mali, 1985-90 211 </p><p>Source: Kremer and Sidibe (1991) </p><p>FIGURE 1 Percentage of SPV campaign expenses met by donors and government in the twelve months to 31 October 1990 </p><p>is conceivable that donor subsidy could provide the foundations for a long-term, nationwide and economically-productive plant protection strategy. In practice, however, this will not occur, because the annual cost of nationwide coverage would be many times higher than present levels of funding. </p><p>Tables 1 and 2 derive a rough estimate of this cost. Estimated areas of millet and sorghum (including intercropped fields) were obtained for each year between 1985 and 1989 and averaged. These are multi- p...</p></li></ul>

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