The Centre for Agricultural Biosciences International (CABI), has embarked on the training of Spray Service providers (SSP), to ensure the correct application of pesticides and reduce risks to human health and the environment.
The CABI Project Manager, Mrs. Florence Chege, said the training of SSP improves access to quality pesticides and correct application, which leads to higher yields for the farmers. She was speaking at a Nakuru hotel, today.
Apart from that, she said the SSP creates employment for grassroots youths and makes them better future farmers, and role models for their communities. She added that after training they are expected to hire out their services to fellow farmers and certify adherence to the spraying methods.
Mrs. Chege said the trained SSP would guarantee safety measures, such as the wearing of eye protection, gloves, long-sleeve shirt, and long-leg pants when handling chemicals, and following the mixing procedures.
Also, she said after spraying the SSP would ensure that the empty containers are triple-rinsed, disposed of properly, and are not reused for carrying water or milk by the farmers and their families.
Additionally, she said unless the containers are properly disposed of and taken away from the community, the chances of re-usage were higher, and the trained SSP would play an important role in appropriate disposal.
However, one of the trainees from Turi village in Molo Sub-county, Paul Kariuki, said some of the challenges that affect the motivation of the SSP was the seasonality of the jobs, since a number of crops are likely to be sprayed once or twice a year. And, the lack of demand, and low profitability.
He added that they charge Sh.300 per acre, and despite the low charges a number of small-scale farmers still find it a challenge to raise the amount. Leading to them spraying without using proper protection equipment, and poor mixing of the chemicals.
But the Project Manager said climate change has intensified pesticides in the country, and unlike in the past when the demand for SSP was low, currently, every crop from Sukuma-wiki to backyard fruits, requires spraying.
She added that the tropical higher temperatures in the country encourage the breeding of pests because they thrive in warmer environments, and unfortunately, that increases the usage of pesticides as there are more pests to manage.
By Veronica Bosibori