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Patterns of pesticide usage in agriculture in rural Tanzania call for integrating agricultural and public health practices in managing insecticide-resistance in malaria vectors

  • Matowo, Nancy S.1, 2, 3, 4
  • Tanner, Marcel2, 3
  • Munhenga, Givemore5, 6
  • Mapua, Salum A.1
  • Finda, Marceline1, 5
  • Utzinger, Jürg2, 3
  • Ngowi, Vera7
  • Okumu, Fredros O.1, 5, 8, 9
  • 1 Ifakara Health Institute, Ifakara, Tanzania , Ifakara (Tanzania)
  • 2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland , Basel (Switzerland)
  • 3 University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland , Basel (Switzerland)
  • 4 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 5 University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa , Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • 6 National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa , Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • 7 Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • 8 University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK , Glasgow (United Kingdom)
  • 9 Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania , Arusha (Tanzania)
Published Article
Malaria Journal
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jul 16, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12936-020-03331-4
Springer Nature


BackgroundUnrestricted use of pesticides in agriculture is likely to increase insecticide resistance in mosquito vectors. Unfortunately, strategies for managing insecticide resistance in agriculture and public health sectors lack integration. This study explored the types and usage of agricultural pesticides, and awareness and management practices among retailers and farmers in Ulanga and Kilombero districts in south-eastern Tanzania, where Anopheles mosquitoes are resistant to pyrethroids.MethodsAn exploratory sequential mixed-methods approach was employed. First, a survey to characterize pesticide stocks was conducted in agricultural and veterinary (agrovet) retail stores. Interviews to assess general knowledge and practices regarding agricultural pesticides were performed with 17 retailers and 30 farmers, followed by a survey involving 427 farmers. Concurrently, field observations were done to validate the results.ResultsLambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin (both pyrethroids) and imidacloprids (neonicotinoids) were the most common agricultural insecticides sold to farmers. The herbicide glyphosate (amino-phosphonates) (59.0%), and the fungicides dithiocarbamate and acylalanine (54.5%), and organochlorine (27.3%) were also readily available in the agrovet shops and widely used by farmers. Although both retailers and farmers had at least primary-level education and recognized pesticides by their trade names, they lacked knowledge on pest control or proper usage of these pesticides. Most of the farmers (54.4%, n = 316) relied on instructions from pesticides dealers. Overall, 93.7% (400) farmers practised pesticides mixing in their farms, often in close proximity to water sources. One-third of the farmers disposed of their pesticide leftovers (30.0%, n = 128) and most farmers discarded empty pesticide containers into rivers or nearby bushes (55.7%, n = 238).ConclusionSimilarities of active ingredients used in agriculture and malaria vector control, poor pesticide management practices and low-levels of awareness among farmers and pesticides retailers might enhance the selection of insecticide resistance in malaria vectors. This study emphasizes the need for improving awareness among retailers and farmers on proper usage and management of pesticides. The study also highlights the need for an integrated approach, including coordinated education on pesticide use, to improve the overall management of insecticide resistance in both agricultural and public health sectors.

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