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Effects of Plant Clinics on Pesticides Usage by Farming Households in Kenya

Published: January, 2018

Journal article

Elizabeth Nambiro, Florence Chege, Idah Mugambi, Mary Bundi, Richard Musebe, Shadeya Akundabweni

Plant clinics focus primarily on diagnosis and dissemination of advice on management/control of plant health problems. The advice provided includes cultural, chemical (pesticides) and biological control or any combination of the listed control methods. Use of pesticides is preferred by farmers for the control of crop pests and diseases because of its quick knock down effect although it is also associated with high costs as well as negative environmental and human health effects. This study examined how plant clinics influence the use of pesticides by maize and tomato farmers in Bungoma, West Pokot, Kirinyaga, Embu and Kiambu Counties in Kenya in the 2016/2017 production year. The objectives of the study were to: (i) examine sources of pesticides (ii) assess factors that determine pesticide usage and (iii) establish changes in pesticide usage practices by farmers. Three hundred and forty three farmers, who included 172 plant clinic users and 171 non-plant clinic users, were selected for the study. The selection process took cognizance of gender issues and selection of non-users in areas where there were no plant clinics in the study counties but with similar agro-ecological conditions and farming systems involving maize and tomato production. Data were collected on socioeconomic variables, pesticide use, costs of production, crop output, per unit price of output and attendance of plant clinics. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, multiple linear and logistic regression models. The study established that farmer knowledge of pesticides improved following the use of plant clinics. Farmer access to information on pesticides improved with regard to sources of pesticides and the types of pesticides to use. There was also an increase in safe use of pesticides. For both men and women there was a positive and statistically significant relationship between wearing of protective clothing and visit to the plant clinic (p<0.05). Plant clinic users had access to more options for pest and disease management. Sixty three percent (63%) of male headed households compared to 70% female headed households used personal protective equipment (PPEs) while spraying before visiting plant clinics. After visiting plant clinics the proportion of male headed households wearing PPEs increased to 75%, while the female headed households increased to 82%. Additionally, awareness of pre-harvest interval increased from 15% to 29% for plant clinic users. There was an increase in knowledge of re-entry interval from 33% to 74% as a result of plant clinic visits. There was also an increase in efficiency of pesticide usage and access to information on management of pests. This suggests the need for improving farmer access to plant clinics for necessary information coupled with advice on pest and disease management practices.

Effects of Plant Clinics on Pesticides Usage by Farming Households in Kenya

Type Journal article

Published in Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 9(12), 2222-2855

Language English

Year 2018