Trends in pesticide use by smallholder farmers on 'Meher' season field and horticultural crops in Ethiopia.
Judicious use of pesticides in agriculture provides many important benefits and thus, they are used in the agricultural sector of Ethiopia. Trends in pesticide use between 2004/05 and 2019/20 'Meher' crop seasons by smallholder farmers on field and horticultural crops at national and regional levels were assessed. For each cropping season and each crop type national and regional data on the total number of households; the number of households who applied pesticides; the total area sown; and the area treated with pesticide were obtained from the annual report on farm management practices by the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia. For each crop the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of pesticide use was estimated by transforming the exponential trend model to semi-logarithm trend function. The results reveal that the CAGRs for the number of households who applied pesticides on each of the field and horticultural crop and the area of each particular crop sprayed with pesticides were positive at both national and regional levels, which indicate an increasing trend in pesticide use on field and horticultural crops. At the national level, depending up on the type of crop, pesticide applicator households increased at CAGR of 4.16 to 19.62%. Similarly, pesticide treated area increased at CAGR of 2.12 to 34.06%. The CAGR for pesticide applicator households and pesticide treated area was not evenly distributed among crops and regions; however, pesticides were applied nearly on all crop types at both national and regional levels. Generally the proportions of pesticide applicator households and the proportion of pesticide treated area were greater in Oromia region followed by Southern Nation Nationality and Peoples region, Tigray region, and Amhara region. The occurrence of several new invasive pests; inclusion of pesticides as parcel of crop production technology packages in extension program; increase in agrarian population and the expansion of cultivated land; and susceptibility of high yielding improved crop varieties are among the main reasons for increased trend in pesticide use in Ethiopia. The detailed reasons for increased use of pesticides and limitations of the CSA's data are explained in the discussion part.