Pesticide use and farmers' health cost in cashew production system in Nghia Trung Village

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Agricultural production in the study area of Nghia Trung village is characterized by perennial crop production systems with cashew as the main cash crop. The cultivation of cashew has been intensified over time with increasing input application, particularly inorganic fertilizer and pesticides to improve the yield of cashew and income for farmers. The increase in the use of pesticides has posed threats to the environment such as adverse health effects on farmers and others and pollution to the watershed. In the light of the adverse effects of pesticides, it is vital to know how current use of pesticide endangers farmers' health and labor productivity and whether the marginal gain from reduced pesticide through sustainable pest management practices could surpasses the marginal loss in cashew productivity and farmers' benefit. This paper reports main results of the study conducted by NLU team on pesticide use and farmers' health cost in cashew-based production system. The study has examined pesticide productivity, types of health impairments and health costs caused to farmers by pesticide use, and estimated farmers' willingness to pay for avoiding health impairment brought about by pesticide exposure. The Cobb-Douglas function analysis was employed to examine pesticide productivity on cashew production using data collected through a survey of 80 farmers in Nghia Trung village. To quantify the health impairment of farmers with respect to personal characteristics of farmers and their use of pesticides, a health cost model was also employed. Information generated from the study provide important basis for the identification of policies and measures to promote sustainable pest management practices in a cashew-based VAF production system.

Environmental impacts, Pesticide poisoning, Pest management, Sustainable agriculture, Modeling, Health impacts, Pesticide productivity, Health costs, Cashew farmers
Presented at the 2008 SANREM CRSP Annual Meeting, Los Baños, Philippines, 26-28 May 2008