Smallholder vegetable farmers in Northern Tanzania: Pesticides use practices, perceptions, cost and health effects uri icon

abstract

  • Smallholder farmers in Northern Tanzania grow vegetables that include tomatoes, cabbages and onions and use many types of pesticides to control pests and diseases that attack these crops. Based on the use of questionnaires and interviews that were conducted in Arumeru, Monduli, Karatu and Moshi rural districts, this study investigates farmers' practices, perceptions and related cost and health effects on vegetable pest management using pesticides. The types of pesticides used by the farmers in the study areas were insecticides (59%), fungicides (29%) and herbicides (10%) with the remaining 2% being rodenticides. Pesticides were bought from pesticides shops (60%), general shops (30%) and cooperative shops (10%). The pesticides were supplied in containers ranging from 0.5 to 51 or in packets ranging from 0.5 to 25 kg. Vendors often dispensed smaller quantities of pesticides in unlabelled containers. About a third of the farmers applied pesticides in mixtures. Up to 90% of this third had a maximum of 3 pesticides in a mixture. In all cases, there were no specific instructions either from the labels or extension workers regarding these tank mixtures. More than 50% of the respondents applied pesticides up to 5 times or more per cropping season depending on the crop. Insecticides and fungicides were routinely applied by 77% and 7%, respectively. Fifty-three percent of the farmers reported that the trend of pesticide use was increasing, while 33% was constant and 14% was decreasing. Sixty-eight percent of farmers reported having felt sick after routine application of pesticides. Pesticide-related health symptoms that were associated with pesticides use included skin problems and neurological system disturbances (dizziness, headache). Thirty-nine percent of farmers reported spending between 20 and 130,200 Tanzanian shillings (0.018-116 US dollars) in a year on health due to pesticides. These results will contribute to the reformation of pesticide policies for safe and effective use of pesticides by smallholder farmers in Tanzania. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007