Pesticides handling and use in four selected agro – ecological zones in Ghana

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This study which focused on farmers’ handling and use of pesticides was conducted in four selected agro – ecological zones in Ghana. The study aimed at determining the types of crops on which pesticides are applied, the type of pesticides of used by farmers, the level of protection of farmers and farmers’ perceptions about pesticides handling and use within the four selected agro – ecological zones. Data were gathered from two randomly selected farming communities of each zone selected; namely Techiman and Agogo (Transition zone), Mankranso and Akomadan (Forest zone), Tamale and Navorongo (Savannah zone) and Amasaman and Abokobi (Coastal-Savannah zone). Data were obtained through the administration of questionnaire in August, 2011. A total of 400 farmers were randomly interviewed. The results showed that about 70 % of the farmers have had formal education up to the Basic level with only 1 % having Tertiary education. Male farmers (92 %) mostly handled and applied pesticides. The study also revealed that insecticides and herbicides are by far the most frequently used pesticides across the ecological zones. Vegetables and cash crops like cocoa and citrus are the crops mostly treated with pesticides. The protective devices used by the farmers were not standard due to poverty. About 81 % know about expiry date of pesticides but 49 % really check expiry date on pesticides. Although 62.3 % are not aware of Specific Restricted Entry Interval, only about 3.7 % usually enter sprayed field few hours after application. The study also revealed that more than half (58 %) of the farmers have had no agricultural extension education on the handling and use of pesticides. About 26 % of the farmers use empty pesticides containers to keep drinks and food items for future use, which poses serious health threat to the farmers. There is therefore the need to intensify agricultural extension services and various awareness programmes on pesticides handling and use in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology - Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Crop Protection (Entomology).