Farmers’ Knowledge on Pesticide Safety and Pest Management Practices: A Case Study of Vegetable Growers in Chitwan, Nepal
Farmers’ knowledge on pesticides and their safe use are critical for implementing effective pest management program. A household survey was conducted using the semi-structured questionnaire to evaluate vegetable growers’ knowledge on pesticide safety and pest management practices in Nepal. Results indicated that chemical pesticides were the primary choice of over 80% growers for pest management. Notably, 90% growers were aware of adverse effects of pesticides on human health and to the environment. Over 84% growers used at least one form of personal protection equipment (PPE) during pesticide spray or handling, although the quality and appropriateness of the PPE warrants further investigation. Nearly 17% growers received at least one short-term training on integrated pest management (IPM); however, all of them neither knew the harmful effects of pesticide residues nor practiced proper pesticide disposal methods. Over 90% of growers rely on local pesticide retailers (i.e., Agro-vets) for technical know-how about pesticide selection, handling, and use. This study highlighted a need for immediate implementation of strict pesticide use regulations and recommended educational programs for pest control professionals, growers, and pesticide retailers.