Pesticide-handling practices of smallholder coffee farmers in Eastern Jamaica
Henry, D. and Feola, G. (2013) Pesticide-handling practices of smallholder coffee farmers in Eastern Jamaica. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics, 114 (1). pp. 59-67. ISSN 1612-9830
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Pesticide use among smallholder coffee producers in Jamaica has been associated with significant occupational health effects. Research on pesticide handling practices, however, has been scarce, especially in eastern Jamaica. This explorative study aims at filling this gap and provides a first basis to develop effective interventions to promote a safer pesticide use. A random sample of 81 coffee farmers was surveyed. The majority of farmers reported to suffer from at least one health symptom associated with pesticide handling, but safety practices were scarcely adopted. There was also the risk that other household members and the wider local community are exposed to pesticides. The lack of training on pesticide management, the role of health services and the cost for protective equipment seemed to be the most significant factors that influence current pesticide handling practices in eastern Jamaica. Further research is recommended to develop a systemic understanding of farmer’s behaviour to provide a more solid basis for the development of future intervention programmes.