Lack of pesticides and herbicides

When I was beginning to help villagers establish Associations to cultivate Aloe macroclada, we would survey the land which would be used. All of the locations were away from populated areas and away from major (national) roads. Most Malagasy are farmers and very acquainted with the land they live and grow on. A standard question I asked (through interpreters) at every village was about any previous use of pesticides or herbicides anywhere around the proposed plantation.

The people in the villages were often confused by the question. I had to explain what pesticides were used for and why I was asking them (don’t want any residual chemicals getting into Alomac). It seemed they thought I was either stupid or crazy. A common answer would be something like this: “When we get insects in our fields we send our chickens, ducks and geese to the fields to eat the insects. It’s easy, works quickly, cost us nothing, and has the added benefit of fertilizing the fields. Why would anyone spend money to buy poison to put it on their land?”

No pesticides or herbicides have been detected in any Lots of Alomac, ever. And, only ducks and geese are sent into the ubiquitous rice fields, not the chickens.