Agent-based models and integrated pest management diffusion in small scale farmer communities

François Rebaudo, Carlos Carpio, Verónica Crespo-Pérez, Mario Herrera, María Mayer De Scurrah, Raúl Carlos Canto, Ana Gabriela Montañez, Alejandro Bonifacio, Milan Mamani, Raúl Saravia, Olivier Dangles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this chapter is to present how agent-based models can be used for the diffusion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) information in small scale farmer communities, using the potato tuber moth in the North Andean region as a study case. This issue was addressed through an international project called INNOMIP (INNOvación en el Manejo Integrado de Plagas, 2009-2012, funded by the McKnight Foundation), which operated in three Andean countries (Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). This project involved scientists from a broad range of disciplines, from agronomists to modelers to extensionists. With the specific objective of proposing innovative IPM extension tools, we first developed a role-playing game relying on an agent-based model to simulate the consequences of individual behaviors on pest control in a theoretical landscape. We then tried this role-playing game with 90 farmers belonging to 6 communities in three countries. Briefly, the training sessions consisted of a board game where farmers could exchange and discuss information about IPM practices and visualize the benefits of IPM adoption and cooperation within a theoretical landscape. Based on farmer interviews and comparison of IPM level of knowledge before and after the sessions, our study suggests that the role-playing game sessions significantly increased the IPM knowledge score in the community and also reduced farmers' knowledge heterogeneity. Moreover, our analyses suggest that farmers' age and extension experience significantly affected role-playing game success, with younger participants (and among them, those with higher initial knowledge) more inclined to increase their IPM knowledge after the session. While we have no evidence of the long (mid)-term benefits of our sessions in the adoption/changes of IPM practices, farmers revealed themselves more predisposed to understand and realize the importance of the cooperative basis of IPM and therefore disseminate to their peers IPM information they had acquired. At a broader scale, this study exemplifies how a computer simulation model can be used for teaching purposes and may represent a promising complement to existing IPM diffusion programs. More broadly, our experience with ABM (Agent-Based Models) for IPM issues suggests that new approaches in pest management extension practices should include topics such as group decision making, intergroup relations, commitment, and persuasion which deal directly with how other farmers influence each other's thoughts and actions and consequently with the level of insect infestation in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperiences with implementation, global overview
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400777965
ISBN (Print)9400778015, 9789400777958
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved.


  • Andes
  • INNOMIP program
  • Potato tuber moth
  • Role-playing game
  • Social-ecological systems


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