What agro-input dealers know, sell and say to smallholder farmers about pesticides: a mystery shopping and KAP analysis in Uganda

Staudacher, P. and Brugger, C. and Winkler, M. S. and Stamm, C. and Farnham, A. and Mubeezi, R. and Eggen, R. I. L. and Günther, I.. (2021) What agro-input dealers know, sell and say to smallholder farmers about pesticides: a mystery shopping and KAP analysis in Uganda. Environ Health, 20. p. 100.

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BACKGROUND: Pesticides can have negative effects on human and environmental health, especially when not handled as intended. In many countries, agro-input dealers sell pesticides to smallholder farmers and are supposed to provide recommendations on application and handling. This study investigates the role of agro-input dealers in transmitting safety information from chemical manufacturers to smallholder farmers, assesses the safety of their shops, what products they sell, and how agro-input dealers abide by laws and recommendations on best practices for preventing pesticide risk situations. METHODS: Applying a mixed-methods approach, we studied agro-input dealers in Central and Western Uganda. Structured questionnaires were applied to understand agro-input dealers' knowledge, attitude and practices on pesticides (n = 402). Shop layout (n = 392) and sales interaction (n = 236) were assessed through observations. Actual behavior of agro-input dealers when selling pesticides was revealed through mystery shopping with local farmers buying pesticides (n = 94). RESULTS: While 97.0% of agro-input dealers considered advising customers their responsibility, only 26.6% of mystery shoppers received any advice from agro-input dealers when buying pesticides. 53.2% of products purchased were officially recommended. Sales interactions focused mainly on product choice and price. Agro-input dealers showed limited understanding of labels and active ingredients. Moreover, 25.0% of shops were selling repackaged products, while 10.5% sold unmarked or unlabeled products. 90.1% of shops were lacking safety equipment. Pesticides of World Health Organization toxicity class I and II were sold most frequently. Awareness of health effects seemed to be high, although agro-input dealers showed incomplete hygiene practices and were lacking infrastructure. One reason for these findings might be that only 55.7% of agro-input dealers held a certificate of competency on safe handling of pesticides and even fewer (5.7%) were able to provide a government-approved up-to-date license. CONCLUSION: The combination of interviews, mystery shopping and observations proved to be useful, allowing the comparison of stated and actual behavior. While agro-input dealers want to sell pesticides and provide the corresponding risk advice, their customers might receive neither the appropriate product nor sufficient advice on proper handling. In light of the expected increase in pesticide use, affordable, accessible and repeated pesticide training and shop inspections are indispensable.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Urban Public Health > Health Impact Assessment (Winkler)
UniBasel Contributors:Winkler, Mirko and Farnham, Andrea and Brugger, Curdin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:1476-069X (Electronic)1476-069X (Linking)
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2022 10:06
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 10:06

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