Promoting sustainability in agricultural production requires critical consideration of agro-cultural technologies and identiﬁcation of best practices. Pesticides are an agricultural technology that enables farmers to control pests and weeds and constitutes an important input when producing a crop. Pesticide use is a common practice to control pests and diseases in vegetable cultivation, but often at the expense of the environment and human health. Proper crop protection is important to produce high quality crops with minimal wastage. This increase in productivity leads to less land, water and labor required for horticultural crops.
Findings show that horticultural farmers in Tanzania apply pesticides in violation of their recommendations: they use unsafe storage facilities, ignore risks and safety instructions, do not use protective devices when applying pesticides, and dispose of containers unsafely. Smallholder horticulture farmers in Tanzania have been reported to lack adequate knowledge in proper, use and management of pesticides. Improper use of pesticide has been found to cause various forms of cancer, birth defects, sterility, damage of liver, kidney, neural organs and deaths.
Bringing in new actors such as environmental authorities, suppliers, NGOs and private actors, as well as social and technological innovations, may contribute to changes in the actual performance of the buying and use practices pesticides. In implementing my idea I planning to make use of two strategic approaches; community awareness through training and use of the Ntakandi Kilimo protector App targeting illiterate and literate farmers.
Through community awareness training, I will make use of the existing farmer structures including Local Government Authorities ( LGA) (that is District, Ward and village Extension Officers,) the village saving and loans Associations (VSLA), agricultural marketing cooperative societies (AMCOS) and agro dealers. The approach will put emphasis on intensive training to the Government of all plant protection issues, methods and sustainable chemical application. They will then be empowered to train farmers groups through Trainer of trainees (TOT) and ultimately will reach other farmers in the community. This approach shall involve the use of farmer’s field days as a mechanism to enable reaching as many farmers as possible. Local processing and manufacturing industries (team value chain leaders) are an important component of awareness training as they will ensure the adherence to the standards of pesticide application since they are the main markets of the horticultural produces hence promoting sustainability of the standards (value chain leader).
There is a scarcity of extension officers thus limiting access to extension services. I have come with the Ntakandi Kilimo protector app that will enable farmers to have quick access to different issues affecting agriculture including including good practices of crop protection e.g. methods of crop protection, first aid measures to a person affected by chemicals during chemical application, protection gear to be used during chemical application, classes of chemicals according to WHO and means of protection, markets for produce and post-harvest management.
The app will also provide information on sustainable crop production including information such as the soil PH scale that favors specific crop, temperature and range of rainfall, land preparation, nursery/seed preparation and management, plant spacing and transplanting, farm management including rate of chemical application (Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) and weeding interval.
I am dedicated to make the world enjoy agriculture through our Moto: AGRICULTURE IS A JOY
Edgar Thomas Sabutoke, Tanzania