The awareness level of the farmers growing Khat regarding the safe use of pesticide was investigated in this study at Haromaya Wereda, Eastern Ethiopia. In order to achieve the proposed objectives, structured questionnaires, oral discussions, and field observations were organized with the farmers growing Khat on the safe use of pesticide. After the study sites were selected purposively, systematic random sampling of the target population was applied. The study result revealed that the farmers lack training on pesticide practices, and most of them use their own experience and consult their neighbours. The findings of the study further indicated that majority of the farmers do not believe that pesticides can be detected in the soil, fruit and leaves of tree, air, ground water and food. Nearly half of the farmers were aware of the harmful effects of using pesticide on insects and birds. The farmers have poor understanding of the effect of long term exposure to pesticides compared to short term exposure. The farmers' understanding of exposure to pesticides through respiratory system and mouth is relatively satisfactory compared to the dermal exposure. Over one third of the farmers had no knowledge of how to store pesticides in the right conditions. However, greater percentage strongly believes that pesticides should be kept out of the reach of children. Even though, majority of the respondents indicated that DDT was used on Khat, only few of them have knowledge of its illegal importation. The outcomes of the study confirmed the need of training on the safe use of pesticides to raise the awareness of the farmers and safeguard the health of the farmers and the environment.
Key words: Knowledge, attitude, pesticide, environmental, health, Khat growing farmers, Haromaya, Ethiopia.
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