UNINFORMED PESTICIDE USE IN JHARKHAND STATE, INDIA: A THREAT TO THE HEALTH AND LIVELIHOODS OF VEGETABLE FARMERS

S.K. Kriesemer, M.L. Chadha, K.M. Weinberger
In Jharkhand, farmers receive advice on crop protection from pesticide dealers, extension agents (governmental, non-governmental) and university personnel. In general, farmers have a positive attitude towards pesticides and it is assumed that this is due to less than impartial information and leads to health risks for farmers. The objective of this study was to obtain knowledge of vegetable farmers’ current pesticide use patterns in selected districts of Jharkhand and to elicit the level of knowledge about the safe use of pesticides among farmers, pesticide dealers, and extension agents. Respondents were interviewed using semi-structured and structured methods. Level of knowledge was tested and expert interviews were used for triangulation. Pesticide dealers are the most frequently consulted information source by farmers and their advice is judged as highly valuable. Forty-five percent of respondents spray at least twice a week while only 22% assess their crop before spraying. Most respondents (70%) don’t protect themselves during spraying; as many as 68% spill pesticides on their body. Most commonly cited poisoning symptoms are headache (43%), watering eyes (26%), and blurred vision (18%). The average result of the knowledge test was 0.94 (SD=2.834; possible range: -27 to +27) and the average confidence on the correctness of respondents’ answers was 4.4 (SD=0.5; possible range: 1 to 5). The greatest knowledge gaps were identified regarding toxicity, formulations and mode of action of pesticides, pesticide residues, alternative methods (e.g. integrated pest man¬agement), environmental protection, and insect resistance. The relatively low level of knowledge and relatively high level of confidence among the respondents combined with generally unsafe use of pesticides point to an urgent need for training. Farmers and pesticide dealers should be educated on risks and the safe use of pesticides to protect their health and enhance their livelihoods.
Kriesemer, S.K., Chadha, M.L. and Weinberger, K.M. (2011). UNINFORMED PESTICIDE USE IN JHARKHAND STATE, INDIA: A THREAT TO THE HEALTH AND LIVELIHOODS OF VEGETABLE FARMERS . Acta Hortic. 921, 209-216
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.921.24
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.921.24
level of knowledge test, information sources, agricultural extension, personal protection, pesticide poisoning symptoms
English

Acta Horticulturae