Mutinta J. Malambo , Mweshi Mukanga , James Nyirenda , Bupe Kabamba , Robert K. Salati
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Journal : International journal of Horticulture, Agriculture and Food science(IJHAF)
Pesticides are essential for the control of infestation of disease, insect pests and weeds on different crops. Due to wide usage of synthetic pesticides which may lead to increased exposure and associated environmental and health risks among small-holder farmers in Zambia, a study was undertaken to understand how knowledgeable farmers are on pesticide use and practices. A total of 418 small scale farmers were randomly sampled from Mkushi, Mpongwe, Luangwa, Mbala, Solwezi, Chipata and Kalomo Districts of Zambia. Data pertaining to types of pesticides use, handling, storage and disposal was solicited using structured questionnaires. The data collected was analyzed using SPSS. Findings revealed that of the sampled farmers 43%, 30%, 25% and 17% used Glyphosate, Dicamba, Paraquat and Atrazine respectively as herbicides in Maize. 21% and 14% used Cypermethrine and Monocrotophos respectively as insecticides in both Maize and Soybean. 81% of the sampled farmers used empty containers for either storing drinking water or salt while only 15% wore protective clothing when applying pesticides. Pesticide mishandling occurred regardless of the amount of experience a farmer had using pesticides. 68% of the sampled farmers had never received any formal basic training in pesticide use, hence a clear knowledge gap. The fact that receipt of basic training was the main predictor of a farmers’ level of knowledge on pesticide use, a farmer who had received basic training in appropriate chemical pesticides use, as opposed to one who had not, had a better chance of using chemical pesticides safely and in the right quantities.