Participatory rural appraisal was undertaken in 70 villages in India and Nepal, covering 1185 farmers to generate baseline information on the current plant protection practices. The study revealed that 93% of the farmers in India and 90% in Nepal had adopted chemical control for the management of various insect pests in different crops; however, less than 20% of the farmers expressed confidence on their efficacy. In India, 52% of farmers get their plant protection advice from pesticide dealers, while in Nepal, the majority of the farmers (69%) make their plant protection decisions through agricultural officers. A majority of the farmers (73% in India and 86% in Nepal) initiate the plant protection based on the first appearance of the pest, irrespective of their population, crop stage and their damage relationships. About 50% of the farmers in India and 20% in Nepal were not using any protective clothing while spraying. Health problems associated with the application of plant protection chemicals were reported by farmers. The cost of plant protection on various crops ranged from 7 to 40% of the total crop production cost. Though integrated pest management (IPM) has been advocated for the past two decades, only 32% in India and 20% in Nepal were aware of IPM practices. IPM implementation in selected villages brought a 20–65% reduction in pesticide use in different crops. The vegetable samples analysed for pesticide residues revealed the presence of residues.