This study was carried out in the Central Region of Uganda, where most of the final tomato transactions are carried out. The sampling was focused on the markets to look at what final consumers take to their homes, and farms to look at the practice and what goes to the markets.
Farm visits and interviews revealed that 3 out of the 4 farmers had received some training on pesticide use from the National Agricultural Advisory Services, a body responsible for enhancing agricultural production in Uganda. The common dithiocarbamate applied was mancozeb (concentration: 80% wettable powder) and its preharvest application interval was 1–2 days, as opposed to the manufacturers’ recommendations of 3–7 days. The reason given for this short pre-harvest interval was to prolong the shelf-life of tomatoes; also, vendors required visible signs of mancozeb. The visible signs included off-white powder on the tomatoes, which gave confidence to vendors that the tomatoes would last longer. It was also observed that none of the farmers followed package label instructions for dilution of the powder. Every farmer confessed to adding more powdered mancozeb per unit volume of water than advised. Information obtained from mancozeb packets found at farms indicated that the recommended dosages ranged from 40–50 g mancozeb per 20 liters of water. However, the actual dosages applied ranged from 125–300 g mancozeb per 20 liters of water, showing that farmers applied 3 to 6 times more mancozeb than recommended by the manufacturers. Some farmers used more than the recommended dosages because they assumed that some of the products had been diluted prior to sale. This arose from past experience of recommended dosages resulting in very dilute solutions that did not serve the intended purpose.
It was observed that none of the farmers used personal protection equipment during the application of macozeb nor during harvesting. This could be attributed to the low level of awareness about the toxicity of mancozeb and the sheer lack of personal protective equipment.
For full details, the results from this study were published in the journal of health and pollution (black smith) pure earth. http://dx.doi.org/10.5696/i2156-9614-5-8.1Tagged agriculture, farm, fungicide, research, toxicology