Assessing the use of agro-chemicals in controlling acaricide-resistant ticks in Mbarara District, Western Uganda
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Ticks have been reported as a major challenge in the livestock sector in Uganda. They cause financial losses directly through reduced production or indirectly through costs incurred on their control. Several control measures are being used to control these ticks with the use of acaricides being the most common. The increasing population of ticks and incidence of tick- borne diseases has been attributed to emergence multiple acaricide resistant ticks. The consequences of cases of tick- borne diseases include: losses due to deaths of animals and risen treatment costs. In absence of efficacious acaricides, farmers have resorted to use of crop pesticides to control acaricide-resistant ticks. This study therefore, assessed how wide spread agrochemicals are used in controlling acaricide-resistant ticks and established the sources of agrochemicals used, the agrochemicals commonly used, the perceptions of various respondents on the efficacy and safety of the practice and the drivers of the practice. The research approach focused on qualitative nature. Quantitative approach captured quantifiable data from which questions about measurable variables like the rate at which the use of crop pesticides has spread among different farmers, work and field experience of respondents in agro-chemical and veterinary drug shops, mortality of animals due to use of crop pesticides to control ticks among others, the perception of various respondents on the perceived efficacy and safety of the use of crop pesticides to control acaricide-resistant ticks, respondents included: veterinary professionals, veterinary and agro-chemical shop attendants. It was found that more than half 32/60 (53%) of the interviewed farmers admitted that they use crop pesticides to control acaricide-resistant ticks. Agro-chemical shops were the biggest source of crop pesticides used in tick control accounting for 42/60 (70%). Other sources included: markets, fellow farmers and veterinary drug shops. Insecticides were the only type of crop pesticides being used in control of acaricide-resistant ticks, especially, Lava 10/32 (31.7%), Ocelamectin 5/32 (16.7%), Dudu-Acelamectin 3/32 (10.1%) and Tick burn spray 1/32 (4.3%). Among perceptions of the practice, agro-chemicals were noted to cause several adverse effects to animals including coat irritation, blindness and deaths. In conclusion, there is wide use of agro-chemicals to control acaricide-resistant ticks in Mbarara District, among livestock farmers. However, the study shows that agro-chemicals have got adverse effects to both animals and humans therefore the practice should be stopped as soon as possible by regulatory bodies through mass awareness and strict restrictions on distribution of drugs.