Don’t Get Involved.
This year a worm is destroying the field of maize of farmers here in Togo. In many places the devastation is important. Farmers are worried, and the government is wishful to help.
In face of the devastation, I noticed two reactions, almost at the opposite.
The first group is made of the ‘educated’ farmers doing agriculture as business. And the second group is the village farmers who do agriculture for food and survival.
The first group, the agrobusiness people, asked the government to intervene to solve the problem, and used pesticides to try to limit the effect of the worm.
The second group does nothing. They were also not happy, but they refused to use those recommended pesticides. I visited one farmer and asked him why. He said, ‘we have to let the maize learn how to defend itself. If they would succeed to defend themselves, maybe next year the worm won’t be able to attack them. It’s a new disease, it’s too early to get involved. We have to give the plant a chance to defend themselves so we don’t get to use the chemicals all the time. What we lose this year might well be not so much in the long term. I don’t know if you understand’.
I found some wisdom in this farmer statement. Still, I wonder if those using chemicals to kill the worms aren’t going to do better now.