Pesticide use in Legume production in the Tamale Metropolis of the Northern Region, Ghana
This study was conducted in six communities namely Jangyili, Foosegu, Gawagu, Dundo, Kukuo and Dalogyili within the Tamale Metropolis of Northern Region. The study aimed at identifying the types of pesticides used for legume crop production and methods of handling them. Sixty (60) respondents were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire. Majority (76%) of the respondents were males most of whom were youth (15-35). The percentage of respondents who lacked formal education was high (52%) among the respondents with the highest level of education being Senior High School. Cereals were the most commonly cultivated crops (40%) followed by legumes (30%). Among the leguminous crops cultivated, cowpea was the most common (38%) followed by groundnut (32%), soybean (13%), pigeon pea (5%), bambara groundnut (5%) and others (8%). Almost all respondents (91%) used pesticides. Thirteen out of the pesticides identified were herbicides with Atrazine being the most common (50%). The pesticides encountered during the study were mainly herbicides and insecticides and belonged to the highly toxic category i.e. Group II based on WHO classification. Majority (88%) of respondents obtained their pesticides from Agrochemical retailers in the communities whiles the rest (12%) depended on their friends and relatives. In spite of the high level of toxicity, most farmers (49%) did not wear protective clothing. Pesticides and their containers were disposed off indiscriminately; most unused pesticides were poured on the ground and containers were burnt or used at home. Most farmers (76%) were ignorant about banned and recommended pesticides. It is therefore not surprising banned pesticides like DDT were still being used. There is the need for farmers to be properly trained on the use of Integrated Pest Management Techniques. Farmers also need to be educated on the use of pesticides and the potential dangers associated with their use. Protective clothing should be made available at affordable prices. Finally existing legislation on importation and sale of pesticides should be strictly enforced to prevent or reduce of influx of pesticides in the country.
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