Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.

back to activity

VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Agricultural livelihoods
Recover livelihoods - Agriculture
Integrated pest-management

Integrated pest-management


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Transboundary plant pests and diseases, such as locusts, armyworms, and wheat rust, and transboundary animal diseases such as African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease, and Rift Valley fever, have a direct economic impact by reducing or eliminating agricultural and livestock production.

Furthermore, pests and diseases may adversely affect prices and trade, negatively affecting farm income. Reduced productivity of crops or animals can have a long-lasting effect as well. Pest infestations can impair fertilization rates or seed recovery. Diseases can have lasting effects on livestock output by delaying reproduction, leading to a reduced population and extended food and nutrition insecurity. The same applies to the fishery sector. Diseases threaten fish and contribute to food and nutrition insecurity among rural populations dependent on fish farming.

Plants, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals (including humans) have all been affected by pesticide use. It appears that this man-made chemical was invented with the intention of improving and increasing crop yields to ensure continued health of the human population. Unfortunately, its use has come with unintended and devastating consequences.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimises economic, health, and environmental risks. IPM emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agricultural ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Indigenous people may have traditional knowledge about natural/organic pest prevention methods.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource Depletion
Soil contamination

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Potential environmental impacts include:

1. Destruction of local biodiversity through crop disease spread (imported or local). E.g. the introduction of a non-native species can bring pathogens that will eventually destroy one or more local species. Pest management is therefore essential

2. However, the use of pesticides could have a negative impact on health, environment, and agro-systems. This creates air, soil, and water pollution durably deteriorating the natural resources.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Because pesticides are sprayed over large areas of land, they have a widespread impact on the environment. Research has shown, for example, that over 95% of herbicides and over 98% of insecticides do not reach the targeted pest. This is because pesticides are applied over large tracts of land and carried away by wind and water runoff. As these chemicals travel to other areas, they affect a number of plant and animal species. Additionally, storage, transportation, and production allow further quantities of pesticides to be introduced to the environment.

Once applied to crops, pesticides work their way into the soil, where it has devastating effects. Perhaps the most detrimental of these effects is that pesticide causes biodiversity loss in soil. This means the soil has a lower quality overall and is less fertile. Additionally, it removes a large percentage of organic matter.

Pesticides seep into the soil and find their way into groundwater. Additionally, they may be washed into nearby streams and rivers. Rain and groundwater sources have also been found to be contaminated.

Pesticides are also easily carried on the wind to other, non-agricultural areas, in a phenomenon known as pesticide drift. Pesticide drift occurs when pesticide is sprayed on crops and carried off by the wind before reaching the plants or when it undergoes volatilization. Herbicide (or pesticide) volatilization is what happens when the chemical reaches its intended destination and later evaporates into the air, being carried downwind. It is more common in warmer climates and seasons when evaporation occurs at a faster rate, preventing the pesticide from being absorbed into the ground.


Summary of environmental activities

Use the Integrated pest management approach for environmentally sustainable pest management.

Enhancing pest, disease, and weed controls and integrated pest management. Practicing integrated pest management and the use of vegetation as buffer strips can reduce water source pollution.

Increasing biodiversity of crops in managed agroecosystems is not only an effective way to reduce the need for pesticides, it can also contribute to both ecological and climate resilience.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

· Integrated pest management is an approach to crop protection that encompasses measures to discourage the development of pest populations. It promotes natural pest control mechanisms while ensuring minimal risk to human health, the environment, and the agro-system. It promotes both sustainable intensification of agricultural production and the reduction of risk from the use of pesticides.

· Maximizing co-benefits to biodiversity, crop, and human health through integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated vector management (IVM).

· Supporting agrobiodiversity as a natural control measure to support the reduced need for chemical pesticides and herbicides.

· Enhance quarantine capabilities, sentinel monitoring programmes, and commitment to identification and management of pests, weeds, and disease threats to counteract those pathogens and pests likely to be favored by climate change.

· Farmers add nutrients to crops or ponds to improve the production of the target organism. However, if the farmer uses more nutrients in the form of fertilizer than can be absorbed, the excess causes pollution. Thus, for the benefit of the farmer who purchases fertilizer, and for the environment that has to absorb the excess, livelihood project managers should encourage farmers (of, for example, rice, shrimp, or milkfish) to reduce the net release of nutrients into the environment. Wasting nutrients is wasting money and can cause negative downstream environmental impacts, putting other livelihoods at risk.

Key activities you can implement to ensure integrated pest management (environmentally sustainable pest management) are:
· Adopt measures specifically to improve soil health (such as cover crops, use of organic manures/amendments, etc.) in addition to optimised cultivation practices

· Practicing good hygiene (such as cleaning equipment and storage facilities, sourcing clean seed, destroying growth on potato and sugar beet dumps, etc.)

· Adopting biological approaches (such as sowing companion crops, sowing vegetation that hosts beneficials, beetle banks, etc.)

· Adopting crop management measures (such as varying drilling dates, increasing seeding rate to control weeds, weed competitive varieties, rotating crops, exploiting varietal resistance/tolerance, etc.)

· Monitoring and surveillance of insect pests (and beneficials), slugs, nematodes, weed, and disease levels. Reacting to disease/insect pressure alerts and decision support systems etc.

· Using plant protection products only when justified. Pesticide resistance management is a key element of product choice

· Regularly reviewing the effectiveness of methods used and considering alternative approaches

· Rotate crops

· Use stale/false seedbeds

· Full inversion ploughing

· Only employ non-inversion tillage when other cultural measures to reduce weed numbers are adopted

· Ensure optimal timing for control measures

· Patch spraying of weeds with a selective herbicide (including precision farming) or weed-wiper

· Hand roguing/mechanical or chemical crop and weed destruction before weed seeds are viable/mechanical weeding or hand hoeing weeds

· Manage cropped headlands to prevent weed ingress from non-cropped areas

· Regular cleaning of harvesting and cultivation equipment and/ or fields with high weed levels are harvested last

· Weekly inspections

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

As noted by the WHO, IPM and IVM are “Alternative approaches that help reduce reliance on pesticides have been developed and tested in recent decades. As a result, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and, to a lesser extent, Integrated Vector Management (IVM) are increasingly introduced and promoted in agriculture and as part of vector-borne disease control, respectively.

Both IPM and IVM start from a thorough understanding of the local ecosystem and recognize that decision-making needs to be decentralized to local levels and based on regular field observations and clear criteria. This implies a need for the development of decision-making skills and capacities at those local levels. A range of measures exists that allows a reduction in reliance on pesticides. Integration aims at the optimal, most cost-effective combination of measures for a local situation. UNEP, FAO, and WHO are committed to promoting integrated strategies for more sustainable pest and vector management.”

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

% of farmers supported by the project/activity who practice integrated pest management.

# of agricultural practices supported by the project/activity which use integrated pest management as a control tool.

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Environmental enhancement

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

This requires working together with local farmers on acceptable solutions.

to top
icon-menu icon-close icon-account icon-arrow icon-down icon-back icon-pointed-arrow icon-left icon-up icon-bookmark icon-share twitter facebook2 printer envelope icon-close-alt icon-top icon-loading icons / login