Journal of Horticulture

Journal of Horticulture
Open Access

ISSN: 2376-0354


Advances in Pesticide Use in the Cocoa Belts and Perceptions of Vegetable Farmers

Jing Zhu

Chemical pesticides are commonly used in the management of pests and diseases in vegetable production in Ghana. However, there is increasing concern about the adverse effects this use has on public health and the environment. A study was conducted to assess how much farmers’ know about the safe handling and use of pesticides, and what they perceive to be the hazards around their use. In-depth field surveys was undertaken with 437 sampled vegetable producers and complimented with focus group discussions and field observation. The results revealed that knapsack sprayers were the most widely used equipment for spraying pesticides (92.4%), followed by hand-held applicators (4.5%) whereas only 3.1% used motorised sprayers. Only 15.6% of the respondents fully protect themselves during spraying operations; others either wore partial protective clothing (38%) or did not wear any protective clothing at all (46.4%), thereby coming into direct contact with pesticides. Over 80% of the respondents re-entered their farms within 3 days of pesticide application; harvest their produce within 7 days, without observing safe harvest interval protocols. The study also revealed that the farmers were aware of and had experienced pesticide hazards such as headache, dizziness, body weakness, and itching. Three per cent of the farmers also mentioned burning sensation, catarrh, stomach pain, unconsciousness, itching of eyes and body pains as side effects from pesticides application. Females and illiterates were found to be more vulnerable to these hazards than their male and literate counterparts. The study findings show that most farmers dispose of empty pesticide containers (59.8%) and wash water from sprayers (79.2%) by throwing or disposing them on their farms. The study concludes that farmers are misapplying pesticides by disregarding the potential harmful effects of pesticides on human health and the environment.