With the objective of streamlining the communication process with the soy producers in the region of Londrina, in the year 2015 EMATER-PR implemented the use of social networking on technical assistance and rural extension. In possession of the information received on the occurrence of pests or diseases in reference units, the farmers began to make the decision on whether or not the application of agrochemical was necessary, avoiding unnecessary and calendar marked sprays, as well as the advance purchase of the products.

The information enabled a reduction in the number of applications of agrochemicals in soybean culture by going on average from three to one fungicide application and from five to two applications of insecticide per harvest.

 

A - General information

 

START: January 2015 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Parana Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension - EMATER

PARTNER: Empresa Siga – Agricultural Consulting

PRESENTED BY: Paulo Roberto Mrtvi

RESOURCES: Own

VALUE RANGE: Up to US$5.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Pest and disease management, Information technology, Whatsapp, family agriculture, EMATER, technical assistance

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers, rural entrepreneurs, students of Agronomy, rural extension workers, settlers of the agrarian credit program, academics, and media professionals.

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Municipal

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT: Municipality of Londrina

 

 

B - Description of the practice

 

1 -BACKGROUND

The rural soil of the municipality of Londrina is used for various agricultural activities, being mostly for cultivation of annual crops, resulting in a diversified agricultural production. Farmers carry out on average four applications of agrochemicals in crops, often without observing the level of economic damage caused by the plague or disease to the culture. On the other hand, there are still promotional packages of pesticides offered by companies, which stimulate the consumption of these agrochemicals bundling products, not considering the environmental damage they can cause.

Frequently there was an excessive use of agrochemicals in municipal agricultural production, resulting from recommendations that did not consider the situation or the stage of development of the soybean crop, as well as the rates of infestation of pests and diseases. This fact contributed to the high rates of use of agrochemicals by production area in the municipality.

According to the Parana Institute of Social and Economic Development-IPARDES, Paraná uses on average 12 kg of pesticides per hectare per year, while the Brazilian average of consumption is one-third smaller, about 4 kg per hectare per year. Of these pesticides, 60% are herbicides. In the city of Londrina, pesticide consumption reaches approximately 21 kg per hectare per year.

The complexity of the problem resulted in the search for alternatives, so that the technical information on the development of the cultures and the occurrence of favorable weather conditions, the incidence of pests and diseases could be promptly of the farmers ' knowledge in a fast and dynamic way, in real time, since this information was provided through meetings held in rural communities, in addition to technical visits with records of pest and diseases management with the farmer in samples of crops. The collected data was transferred by phone (fix and mobile). This process showed high cost, added to fuel costs, vehicle maintenance and the time worked by the extension agent and administrative technical team, which provided field support.

 

 2 - MAIN GOAL

Optimize the performance of the extension agents, contributing to the rational use of resources and management techniques for the production of soybean culture.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

Technological progress and WhatsApp use, allowed the creation in the 2015 crop of the group called "MIPD SOJA Emater Londrina", aiming to get more range in the application of the system of management of pests and diseases in soybean culture in the city of Londrina.

Ground zero was the contact with farmers who grew soybeans in the Municipality of Londrina, as well as regional opinion maker actors, who would disclose and pass on information received weekly to their neighbors or through the media. Those interested in participating in the group should have a cell phone with the WhatsApp application and join the group spontaneously. After expressions of interest, the farmers were registered to receive information about the development of culture, mainly the occurrence of pests and diseases.

Then, three soy-producing properties were selected as reference units, one in the Ribeirão Cafezal microbasin, another on a property in the District of Maravilha and a third in the community of Guairacá, where spore collectors were installed for weekly tracking and monitoring the incidence of possible diseases. 

Every week there was a reading of the sample collected in these units and spores and fungi were identified. This work was performed by the partner company SIGA-agricultural consulting and registered in monitoring records, and with the drafting of a text with information about pests and diseases occurring in crops. In addition, a weekly regional bulletin of the program Plante Seu Futuro (Plant Your Future) (PSF), through reports made by the technicians who work in units of references of EMATER-PR. This information was a guide for the farmer to take the decision to apply or not the agrochemical.

Armed with all this information, a complete text was posted to the group so that the information was known and replicated.

 

4 - OBTAINED RESULTS

The main achievements were:

1. Integration of social actors of various segments, including farmers, researchers, journalists, local extension workers, agricultural workers, rural youth and students of Agronomy;

2. Reduction in the number of applications of agrochemicals in soybean culture going on average from three to one fungicide application and from five to two applications of insecticide in 2014/2015 (Source: EMATER-PR - The Local Unit of Londrina);

3. Dissemination of information about the management of pests and diseases to farmers and dynamic, real-time information for decision-making of producers;

4. Reduction in the cost of fuel, telephone and wear of the vehicle fleet of the company responsible for the technical assistance and rural extension-ATER;

5. Modernization on ATER;

6. Participation of 70 local farmers in the Whatsapp group during 2014/2015 crop, and that implemented the MIPD system in soybean culture;

7. Optimization of activities of extension agents;

8. Optimizing the use of inputs and equipment usage in management of culture of soybean;

9. Adherence to recommendations and technical service offered by extension agents.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

For deployment of the MIPD group it is necessary:

•Availability of mobile phone with WhatsApp application;

•Mobile internet network;

•Minimal knowledge of computers for use of the mobile device;

•Personal agenda with the telephone number of farmers who grow soybeans or wheat or corn and potential interested in participating in this group-the maximum limit of members is 100 people per group;

•Technical network of the Emater Institute, in the region of Londrina, responsible for the monitoring of pests and diseases in the field;

•Administrative staff with ability to work with the application.

OBS: The acquisition of the smartphone is the responsibility of the member interested in being part of the group created in the technician’s phone, without cost to the EMATER-PR or to the other participants.

 

6 - TRANSFER

Because it is a relatively new practice, not similar initiatives in other regions have been seen. However, EMATER-PR has shown interest in creating new groups through WhatsApp application contemplating information from other agricultural cultures in other regions of the State of Paraná for the crop 2015/2016. Researchers from the Agronomic Institute of Paraná-IAPAR and Brazilian Agricultural Research Company -EMBRAPA also expressed interest in receiving the information conveyed through the groups created.

Journalists also used the information to guide reports on the topic. Financial agencies managers, who work in the city of Londrina, also based on the information carried out in groups to discuss with their clients the crop situation in the municipality.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The success achieved by the dynamic communication process via WhatsApp application was quickly recognized by users, becoming subject of reports published in the local media that had celebrated the adoption of new technologies in rural areas (reports one, two e three). The use of this social network has proved to be, even if only in the short term, of great utility and acceptance of rural producers, so much that the rate of withdrawal in the first crop was zero, even if the permanence in the group was optional.

Stands as obstacle the information, posts, pictures and videos that were not consistent with the original content. There are still no filters that can select only the content related to the topic. Another obstacle is the fact that not all the family farmers who grow soybeans have access to the WhatsApp application. The cost of a mobile device is high and the access to the Internet does not reach all communities.

 

A visit to some units is available, with previous appointment, preferably between 

Number of visitors: Up to 10 people.

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