Pesticides related knowledge, attitude and safety practices among small-scale vegetable farmers in lagoon wetlands, Lagos, Nigeria
AbstractThe unsafe and indiscriminate use of pesticides in wetlands for agriculture represents a major hazard to the environment and human health globally. The hazard of pesticide exposure and farmers susceptibility is due to lack of knowledge regarding its safe use, proper pesticides handling and practices. The aim of this study was to evaluate vegetable farmers’ knowledge, practices and exposure level during pesticides preparation and application in their crop production. A total of eighty one (81) vegetable farmers were identified in these wetlands. Four (4) declined the usage of pesticides because they are organic farmers. In all, seventy seven (77) vegetable farms and farmers were sampled for this study using a structured questionnaire. Data obtained were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics. The results indicate high risks of exposure of the vegetable farmers to toxicity and health hazards to pesticides. 71.4% of the farmers agreed that pesticide use poses some potential risk to human health while 63.6% agreed that it poses risk also to the environment. The majority of the farmers (48.1%) stored their pesticides in the open field. Some respondents also stored their pesticides in open shed meant just for pesticides (18.2), and locked chemical stores designated only for pesticides (14.3%). A worrying 6.5% of the farmers reported storing pesticides within their living area. Respondents with higher education levels were significantly less likely to store pesticides in their home (?2 = 24.65, p< 0.05). Over 67% of the farmers indicated using at least one PPE during handling, preparation and spraying of pesticides. Among respondents who reported using PPE, less that 11% wore all the recommended six key PPE items (coveralls, protective boots, glasses/goggles, gloves, respirator, and hat). A substantial number of respondents reported not wearing respirators/nose mask (84.6%), coveralls (59.6%), or glasses/goggles (46.1%) at all. The PPE most often used were protective gloves (71.2%), hats (44.2%), and booths (42.3%). This use of partial usage PPE and non usage by farmers during pesticides application increases the potential risk of pesticide exposure, with serious health implications. It is evident that there are high risks of exposure of the small-scale farmers in the study area to toxicity and health hazards of pesticides during preparation and application. urgent need for regular and updated training of farmers on the safe use of pesticides and safe disposal of empty pesticide containers, left over spray solutions and water used to wash sprayer equipment after spraying as this is crucial to ensure effective management of insect pests and diseases, prevention of environmental pollution and safe pesticides usage.
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