Teaching Pesticide Safety Techniques to farmers and their families in Cahuasqui: A rural farming community in the Ecuadorian Andes

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Virginia Tech

Cahuasqui is the community where a volunteer service of two years was conducted from 2006 to 2008 as an agricultural extension agent with the US Peace Corps. The primary points of interests the community was seeking were organic agriculture, small business skills, and crop diversification. As the two years unfolded, a deeper understanding of traditional farming meshed with industrialized farming was seen. Projects initiated were in the areas of organic agriculture and small business as the community wanted. Large amounts of pesticides are applied with zero to minimal protective clothing and apparent disregard to the dangers of these chemicals. Many reasons might support this such as a lack of Integrated Pest Management concepts or full understanding of the agrochemicals they are applying. This study is to look at a group of 41 farm owners and 12 farmworkers to evaluate their understanding of pesticides at a basic level and if their knowledge can be increased to help protect their health along with their family by giving them basic pesticide safety awareness classes modeled after the Environmental Protection Agencies curriculum for farmworkers in the US.

pesticide use, safety awareness education, organic farming, indigenous agriculture