Main research question/goal
How can we measure the sustainability of crop protection on farms? This research question should yield an indicator set (DISCUSS) that can be used to assess the sustainability of crop protection strategies. In addition, the indicators should be suitable for use in a social learning setting, i.e. in farmers’ discussion groups coached by an advisor.
The indicator set is currently being tested to find out the preconditions for its implementation and to study its potential for both monitoring and social learning.
We are combining desk-top research with stakeholder consultation. In the design phase of DISCUSS we are mainly consulting experts. Together we are drawing up a framework for sustainable crop protection at farm level and we are determining themes for the survey. In the test phase we are shifting the consultations to the main stakeholders: the farmers. They are for instance interviewed on the usability of the survey.Relevance/Valorisation
This research resulted in DISCUSS, the Dual Indicator Set for Crop protection Sustainability Surveys. DISCUSS combines an assessment model for human and environmental risks of pesticisdes with a survey that probes farmers’ knowledge and awareness of, and attitude towards, crop protection and their consequent management actions. We intend to use DISCUSS to urge farmers to reflect on the sustainability of their crop protection and to stimulate them to take part in discussion on the subject with the other farmers in group meetings. As a result, DISCUSS should offer a starting point to make crop protection more sustainable.