Knowledge, attitude and practices on pesticide use and safety among smallholder farmers in Chemwabit parish, Bukwo district
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Introduction: Unsafe use and misuse of pesticides is a threat to farmers’ health and the environment. In Uganda, most people and households depend mainly on agriculture involving use of pesticides to earn a living. Unsafe pesticide use could result in pesticide poisoning with a resultant effect on the farmers’ health. Not much however is known about knowledge, attitudes and practices on pesticide use and safety among small holder farmers in Chemwabit Parish, Bukwo District. The objective of the study was to assess knowledge, attitude and practices on pesticide use and safety among smallholder farmers in Chemwabit Parish, Bukwo District. Methods: This was a cross sectional study among 281 small holder farmers and 6 key informants in Chemwabit Parish, Bukwo District. Semi structured questionnaires were used to obtain quantitative information from respondents while an interview guide was used to obtain qualitative information from 6 key informants. Proportion to size sampling followed by systematic sampling was used to obtain smallholder farmers from the respective villages in the Parish to make up the sample size. Data was analysed using STATA 13. Results: Majority of the smallholder farmers had an idea about pesticides 266 (94.7%). There was limited knowledge on pesticide safety. More than 30% of the smallholder farmers did not know the safety labels showing toxicity of insecticides. Up to 58 (20.6%) of the respondents did not know the route of entry of pesticides and 137 (48.6%) could not read the safety instructions. Attitudes on pesticide safety were poor. Majority of the smallholder farmers thought mixing of different pesticides can rapidly kill the pests 243 (86.8%) while 108 (38.6%) believed that pesticides are environmentally safe. Most farmers (75.4%) used insecticides for their crops and up to 41% of them farmers stored pesticides in unlocked place within their houses. 3.2% of the smallholder farmers threw left pesticides and pesticide containers in the streams. Conclusions: There was limited knowledge on pesticide safety thus an effort must be made to upgrade the farmers’ knowledge but also their attitude and practice so that they ensure safe pesticide use, storage and handling Keywords: Pesticides, Smallholder farmers, Knowledge.