Smallholder farmers’ knowledge, perception and practice in pesticide use in South Western Ethiopia

Fikre Lemessa Ocho, Fikadu Mitiku Abdissa, Gezahegn Berecha Yadessa, Adugna Eneyew Bekele


Pesticides are often used to manage pests and enhance agricultural productivity. However, pesticides have negative impacts on human and animal health as well as on the environment if not properly used and handled. Hence, this study aimed at assessing the knowledge, attitude and practices of smallholder farmers in agricultural pesticides utilization in three major cereal producing districts of Jimma zone, Ethiopia. For the study original data collected from 140 randomly selected farmers using a pre-tested structured questionnaire and key informant interviews with district level experts were used. The results showed that 98% of the sample households use pesticides; of which 45% purchase pesticides from open market. Furthermore, while the herbicide 2, 4-D was used by 57% of the households, 48% of the respondents did not know the type of pesticides they used. Only 30% read the instructions and less than 40% understand the signs on pesticide containers. Most households perceived that pesticides are useful; however, 98.5% of them witnessed its negative effects. Some health related discomforts reported include nausea, vomiting, headache, and skin irritation with the respective shares of 68%, 18%, 12% and 2%. Ninety five percent of the respondents believed that it is possible to minimize the negative effects of pesticides. But, 80% use normal clothes for spraying pesticides; 40% wash spray equipments in yard; 23% throw pesticide containers in open field and 32% reuse pesticide containers for other purposes. Findings of the study revealed that there is mismatch among knowledge, perception and practice of the farmers. Hence, it is important to carefully design pesticides supply chain and train farmers to create awareness about the careful use of pesticide, and disposal of the leftover and containers.

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