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Pesticide diversity in rice growing areas of Northern Vietnam


Pesticide use in developing countries increases rapidly. In many regions, we miss knowledge of how frequently pesticides are applied and which active ingredients are used. We present a new cost-efficient and rapid assessment method of recording pesticides diversity in rice-dominated landscapes and present some evidence of the misuse of active ingredients in our study regions. We investigated 17 rice fields in two regions of Northern Vietnam in 2014 and 2015. At each region, we explore the abundance of pesticides used with three methods including (1) the novel approach of collecting pesticide packages close to our target rice fields, (2) observations of farmers spraying pesticides in the surrounding and (3) interviewing local farmers. By collecting pesticide packages, we found 811 packages containing 74 different active ingredients. On average, 19 active ingredients (ranging from four to 40 active ingredients) were applied with an average content of 275.3 g of active ingredients per site. Insecticide packages (39%) were most abundant followed by those of fungicides (31%), herbicides (16%) and other active ingredients (14%). On all sites, active ingredients banned in the European Union were applied by the farmers. Collecting pesticide packages proved to be an efficient and rapidly implemented method to obtain some baseline information about pesticide application (for Northern Vietnam). We suspect that improved agricultural extension services could contribute to good agricultural practices in pest management. Generally, better information and education for local farmers for appropriate use of pesticides seem a necessity.

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This study was carried out within the LEGATO project (Settele et al. 2015) and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; 01LL0917A), within the BMBF-Funding Measure “Sustainable Land Management” ( We would like to thank Le Quang Tuan, Nguyen Hung Manh and Nguyen van Sinh, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) in Hanoi, for the technical support during the field work. Furthermore, we would like thank two reviewers for the supportive comments.

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Correspondence to Cornelia Sattler.

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Sattler, C., Schrader, J., Farkas, V.M. et al. Pesticide diversity in rice growing areas of Northern Vietnam. Paddy Water Environ 16, 339–352 (2018).

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  • Agrochemicals
  • Agroecosystem insecticides
  • Active ingredients
  • Red River Delta
  • Rice fields