Plight of Pesticide Applicators in Cameroon: Case of Tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum Mill.) Farmers in Foumbot
Tarla DN, Manu IN, Tamedjouong ZT, Kamga A, Fontem DA

Vegetables play a significant role in human nutrition, especially as a source of dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins and the over use of pesticides to manage pests and diseases have been noticed. This study was carried out in Foumbot (5° 16′ - 5° 35′ N, 10° 30′ - 10° 45′ E and 1100-1300 m asl) Cameroon, from October 2014 to June 2015, in order to understand phytosanitary practices conducted by tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum Mill.) farmers. In this study, questionnaires were administered to 111 tomato growers concerning the farmers (gender, age, level of education), the farm (size, cropping period/system), pesticide (source, choice, rate, frequency, days to harvest, applicator (plant protection equipment, personal hygiene, payment), waste management (spray leftover, empty containers) and the role of pesticide distributors and agricultural extension agents. Complimentary information was obtained from 34 pesticide distributors and 5 agricultural extension agents. Results showed that 98.3% of respondents were men, aged 21-40 years, illiterate or had primary education with farm sizes varying from 0.1 to 0.5 ha and half of the farmers grow tomato only during the dry season due to low pest and disease pressure. Tomato was grown in a pure cropping system or associated to green beans or huckleberry. Tomato growers did not receive any formal training on pesticide application and 75.7% of the growers did not receive any assistance from agricultural extension agents. Consequently, farmers did not respect treatment frequencies neither did they use gloves, masks and goggles. Pesticide wastes were left in the environment, burned and the reuse of empty plastic containers for domestic purposes was widespread in Foumbot. Pesticide poisoning cases were recorded and cases of death were observed. This study calls for pesticide residue analysis of tomato and potable water as well as the monitoring of the health status of the farmers for chronic illnesses.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v4n2a10