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Title: Determinants of pesticide use and uptake of alternative pest control methods among small scale tomato farmers in Nakuru County, Kenya
Authors: Kinuthia, Catherine Wambui
Keywords: Small scale tomato farmers in Nakuru County
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Increasing demand for food and the diminishing agricultural land has resulted in farmers putting great efforts to increase crop yields by using more fertilizer and pesticides. Pesticide use in agricultural production has, however, produced undesirable effects on human health and the environment. Thus, the study aimed at contributing to sustainable agricultural intensification through safe pesticide use and uptake of alternative pest control methods among small-scale tomato farmers in Nakuru County, Kenya. Specific objectives of the research study were; to evaluate precautionary behaviours in pesticide use among small-scale tomato farmers and to determine socioeconomic and institutional factors that influence the level of pesticide usage among small-scale tomato farmers. The study also sought to establish the role of risk perception, institutional and socio-economic characteristics on the intensity of uptake of alternative pest control methods among small-scale tomato farmers. Multistage sampling procedure was used to select a sample of 384 respondents. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data which was administered by trained enumerators. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, trivariate ordered probit and multivariate Tobit models. Principal component analysis was used to categorize alternative pest control methods into four groups. Results indicated that safety behaviours in pesticide use were inadequate, particularly in the use mask (0.52%), gloves (18.49%) and hats (26.30%). None of the farmers was using goggles. High purchase cost (36.95%), discomfort (20.05%) and not necessary for each case (20.57%) were the leading factors attributed to lack of/limited use of protective gears. Majority of the small-scale farmers were overusing insecticides (97.66%) and fungicides (91.93%). A significant proportion of the tomato farmers were underusing herbicide (83.33%). Findings from the Trivariate ordered probit model estimation indicated that gender, farming experience, distance to the market and number of contacts with the extension service provider positively influenced the level of pesticide usage. Moreover, participation in training programs, group membership, and risk perception positively influenced the intensity of uptake of alternative methods; while farm size and participation in off-farm activities had a negative effect on the intensity of uptake of alternative methods. The study concluded that a significant proportion of small-scale farmers overuse pesticide while managing insect pests and diseases. Consequently, the study recommended the requisite for provision of safety training programs and adequate extension services to facilitate proper pesticide use and uptake of alternative methods for improved livelihoods and environmental conservation. To public policy, formulating and implementing targeted interventions aimed at promoting the use of alternative pest control methods that minimize negative health and environmental effects from overuse of pesticides.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Agriculture

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