Factors Associated with Pesticide Use among Vegetable Farmers in Negros Oriental, Philippines
Keywords:Vegetable Pests, Pesticides, Pest control
Averse to pest-related risks, farmers commonly resort to pesticides despite the existence of alternative strategies to crop pest management. The study sought to determine factors related to vegetable farmers’ decisions to use pesticides as a primary pest control strategy. Face to face interviews with 151 commercially-oriented vegetable farmers from four vegetable growing municipalities in the province of Negros Oriental was conducted to gather data needed for the study. Results show that the vast majority (88%) of the surveyed farmers employed pesticides as a main pest control strategy. Socio-economic factors such as gender, number of land parcels cultivated, and level of household income of the surveyed farmers were significantly related to the farmers’ decision to use pesticides for pest control. Farmers’ assessment of the extent of pest and disease infestation on their vegetable crops and their perceived effects of pests on crop yield were significant determinants of pesticide use. Other factors influencing farmers’ decision to use pesticides were their regard of pests as severely destructive, the perceived increase in pest populations, and their desire to prevent, control, or eradicate pests to ensure better crop yield. Information sources, the frequency of contact with pesticide dealers, and membership in farmers’ organizations significantly influenced farmers’ decision to use pesticides. The study recommends that appropriate government agencies sustain, expand, and be more aggressive in promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices among vegetable farmers.