PHE project Phase III focuses on using evidence based knowledge and experience in local settings to disseminate information on pesticide exposure and prevention in the 17 districts of Uganda. To achieve this, the project uses different approaches in reaching out to its targeted stakeholders. And one of the project planned activity is holding community sensitization meetings with farmers, Sub County and community leaders, and steering committee members, among others in the selected regions on pesticide use.
Therefore on 4th – 8th March, 2019 UNACOH in collaboration with SEDFA organized these sensitization meetings in 5 centres in 5 Sub Counties of Mateete, Lwebitakuli, Ntuusi, Lugusuulu and Lwemiyaga in order to address pesticide exposure. The meetings involved Sub County officials, farmers, steering committee members, SEDFA staff, Sub County and community leaders from the meetings we managed to sensitize 366 of which 185 were Males and 181 were Females.
To raise awareness among farmers and different stakeholders on pesticide responsible use and handling among communities.
- Creating awareness among community members on responsible pesticides use and handling.
- To share some of the findings on pesticide residues in our water and agricultural products to different stakeholders.
Mode of training:
The training was interactive in nature. After the presentation by PHE Project coordinator Mr. Atuhairwe Aggrey on the different findings, the flow was opened to participants to make their reactions to the findings and to making way forward.
- Activity Outputs:
- Awareness on responsible pesticide use and handling was conducted and a total of 366 participants from 5 sub counties in Sembabule district benefited
Questions and Answers
Farmers asked questions in line with the subject matter and they were responded to by either UNACOH staff, SEDFA staff or district / sub county officials
Way forward / action plan
- What influences us as farmers to use these pesticides in an improper manner?
- Love for quick gains / money as for the farmers and traders
- Language barrier / ignorance – Directions are in English and Kiswahili in prescribing the pesticides and herbicides
- Government extension workers are reluctant to train us (farmer) on the use of pesticides
- Drugs / pesticide dealers don not explain to farmers on the precaution measures
- Some drugs are fake which at times lead to over dosage application
- Number of extension workers are outnumbered by the number of farmers
- Farmers don’t care / reluctance among farmers about their lives hoping they are resilient /
- They don’t have equipment like gloves
- Climate changes forces them to use a lot of chemicals
- Side effects are evident after a long time
- Farmers don’t know the effects from using the pesticides
- Need to make inventions
- Drug attendants are not trained to give clear information to farmers as they are relatives of the drug owners (Incompetent agro in put dealers)
- Areas differ in topography therefore require different fertilizers and farmers lack that knowledge on drug safe use.
As farmers in this room, what are we committing to do from now onwards, to change this situation
- Buying protective gears
- Proper disposal of wastes / burning the used up bottles
- Farmers to consult extension workers before applying chemicals on their crops
- Referring farmers to Agro dealers that sell good pesticides / herbicides to avoid fake drugs that are on market
- Farmers through their farmer groups should collect money and buy protective gears
- Encourage more farmers who are not in groups to form or join existing farmer groups to ease access to trainings and information
- Farmers should be concerned with their life and follow drug withdrawal period and disposal
- Proper following of instructions indicated on the chemical bottles
- Extension workers especially from government should monitor farmers to advise them and help farmers’ access loans
- Mind set change for farmers from buying cheap products to buying genuine products/ Farmers to buy from genuine sellers
- Farmers should ACT – start from now after receiving this training
- Farmers should also attend trainings whenever they are called
What would we as farmers want SEDFA to support us to achieve the above commitments?
- Opening up SEDFA agro input branches to ease access to pesticides
- Providing constant trainings and sensitization to other groups and via mass media
- SEDFA and UNACOH Provide protective gears to the farmers maybe on credit and at subsidized prices
- More trainings on acaricide and pesticide usage in local language
- Provide farmers with planting materials
- Lobby for translation of directions to local languages
- Supporting farmers with Sprayers
- SEDFA should organize trainings for non-group members using L.C I chairpersons
- SEDFA should make trainings more practical
- Should organize farmers on the waste disposal in the community
Mr. Atuhaire Aggrey – PHE Project Coordinator during the presentation at Kasongi Primary School – Lugusuulu Sub County.
Mr. Kasekende Jude addressing to participants
Mr. Ssebugwawo Wilson addressing participants at Kitagabana – Mateete Sub County