Before managing pests, farmers should correctly identify the target pest in order to decide on the kind of pesticide to buy, for example, an insecticide, fungicide, or herbicide.
When buying pesticides, be alert. Watch out for expired or fake products. Some chemicals are too old to use and won’t be effective. Some containers look like pesticides, but don’t contain the real thing. Make sure the seal on the container is intact to avoid buying a fake product. Read the label carefully! It gives you warnings and directions for proper use. It should also have a certification stamp that shows the pesticide is approved by the government.
Do you have questions about a product? Call our studio line. Our farm broadcasters and agricultural experts will be happy to assist you! [insert radio station phone line]
First, use knapsack sprayers for annual crops and mist blowers for tree crops.
Second, choose the right nozzle for the job. Use hollow cone nozzles for insecticides and fungicides and use reflex, deflector, flood, or anvil nozzles for herbicides. Why? Because hollow cone nozzles spray smaller droplets, which are better at targeting insects or fungi. Anvil nozzles spray bigger droplets for weeds.
Third, check your spraying equipment and repair any leaks.
Fourth, make sure the straps of the spraying equipment are in good condition.
Fifth, ensure that spray tank sieves are in place to remove particles from spray water and avoid blocking the nozzle.
And finally, make sure you wear all necessary PPE, or personal protective equipment. This includes goggles, a mask, rubber gloves, rubber boots, and a cotton overall that covers your arms and legs.
Never spray pesticides when the sun is strong. That’s when bees are the most active—and bees pollinate many crops! Never spray when it’s windy or rainy. And never spray close to a river or a lake, because the chemicals can contaminate the water, make people sick, and kill fish and other aquatic creatures.
Do NOT burn the containers because the smoke can cause health problems. Do not bury empty pesticide containers in the ground. Triple rinse and destroy empty pesticide containers immediately after use by punching or poking holes in them. Send the destroyed pesticide containers to your municipal or district waste site, if available. You can also contact the Environmental Protection Agency in your country to properly dispose of large numbers of empty pesticide containers.
The first is the re-entry interval. This is the number of days you must wait after spraying before going into the field again. If you enter the field too soon, you may expose yourself to harmful chemicals. It’s a good idea to erect signs that inform people about the safe re-entry interval.
The second is the pre-harvest interval. This is the number of days you must wait before harvesting food from the sprayed area. If you or someone you sell to consumes the food too early, it may still contain toxic chemicals.
Remember the re-entry interval and the pre-harvest interval. And never spray any pesticides without reading and understanding the label first!
Alternative ending for stations outside of project: Before using any pesticide product, always read the label for directions and use. Every pesticide container should have a certification stamp that shows it’s approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in your country.
First, empty all the pockets and cuffs. Dispose of any clothing that has been drenched in pesticides. Wash the contaminated clothing, including socks and undergarments, the SAME DAY it was worn for spraying. Hang up the washed clothing on a line outdoors—it’s safe to wear again once it’s dry!
One: don’t stock up with more pesticide than you need. Limit the amounts and types you store.
Two: separate dry pesticides and liquid pesticides to prevent contamination from spills and leaks.
Three: store pesticides in a separate and secure area away from your home, and away from animal housing or public spaces. If possible, the pesticide store should be locked.
Four: don’t store any other products in the same area as your pesticides.
Remember these four tips! Spray safely! Stay safe!
Contributed by: Maxine Betteridge-Moes, freelance journalist and former Broadcaster Resources Advisor with Farm Radio International
Reviewed by: Ebenezer Aboagye, Head of Crop Pest and Diseases Management Division, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana
Farm Radio International, 2018. Using chemical pesticides safely: The case of Fall armyworm in Ethiopia. https://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/109-farm-radio-resource-pack/using-chemical-pesticides-safely-case-fall-armyworm-ethiopia/
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2016. Pesticides – Working Safely. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/pesticides/working_safely.html
This resource is brought to you by the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP). MOAP is implemented by GIZ, in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and it is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)