The use of synthetic pesticides in tropical countries has increased over the years, following the intensification of agriculture. However, awareness among farmers of the importance of protecting themselves from hazards associated with pesticide application is still lacking, especially in Indonesia. This paper reports results of an inventory on knowledge and attitudes regarding pesticide use by melon farmers of a village in Central Java, Indonesia. The importance of using personal protective equipment such as hats, masks, goggles, boots, and gloves on agricultural land is known and well understood by the farmers. However, in practice, only 3.8 % were wearing glasses and 1.9 % were using boots. In fact, the masks used only consisted of a part of their shirt tied around the mouth. The farmers were not wearing long pants and shirts with long sleeves and used the same clothes for more than 1 day without washing. Almost no farmers used personal protective equipment that was standard, in good condition, and complete. Based on the results of statistical analysis, no significant relationship was found between knowledge and attitude on the required practices on the one hand and the use of personal protective equipment in practice on the other hand. This shows that improved knowledge and attitudes are not enough to change the behavior of farmers to work in a healthy and safe way. The gap between knowledge and practice needs to be bridged by a more interactive and participatory training model. It is therefore of paramount importance to develop a special toolkit for pesticide risk reduction which is developed in a participatory manner involving the farmers as the main actors through a series of focus group discussions and field simulations.
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The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, which has helped to fund this research and provided a scholarship to MG. Catur Yuantari allowing a visit to the Department of Ecological Science, VU University Amsterdam.
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Yuantari, M.G.C., Van Gestel, C.A.M., Van Straalen, N.M. et al. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of Indonesian farmers regarding the use of personal protective equipment against pesticide exposure. Environ Monit Assess 187, 142 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4371-3
- Pesticide exposure
- Risk assessment
- Health protection