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Int J Occup Environ Health. 2002 Jul-Sep;8(3):175-81.

Farmers' perceptions of pesticides, and resultant health problems from exposures.

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Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health Food, USA.


As part of an evaluation study of the impacts of the Indonesian integrated pest management (IPM) Farmer Field Schools on farmers' health, focus group discussions were conducted with rice farmers who grew shallots in rotation. Farmers who had previously participated in IPM rice field schools and who were at the time participating in IPM shallot field schools were compared with farmers who had had no experience with IPM methods. The study found that farmers' knowledge concerning the health dangers of pesticides is not sufficient to change their behaviors. Their overriding concern is crop damage that leads to economic loss, not health. IPM field-school training offers farmers a viable alternative by concretely demonstrating the health, agricultural, environmental, and economic advantages of eliminating unnecessary pesticide use. If public health professionals aim to change behaviors through interventions, they must employ appropriate methods, meet the community's priorities and values, and offer feasible alternatives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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