Environmental burden of fungicide application among cocoa farmers in Ondo state, Nigeria

Environmental burden of fungicide application among cocoa farmers in Ondo state, Nigeria
Environmental burden of fungicide application among cocoa farmers in Ondo state, Nigeria

This study was conducted by Dr. Fatai Abiola Sowunmi of the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and colleagues.

In the researchers’ own words; the application of copper-based fungicide to control black pod disease caused by Phytophthora megakarya is a common practice among cocoa farmers. Copper based fungicide has detrimental effect on the environment and the output of cocoa production. Failure to abide by the recommended quantity of fungicide to use was common. Several studies on cocoa production often ignore this externality.

In this study, environmental efficiency of cocoa farmers was estimated based on the use of detrimental variable (deviation from the recommended quantity of fungicide to use on cocoa farm) and traditional inputs within the framework of stochastic frontier approach. The averages of fungicide used per cropping season per hectare in cocoa farms were 2230, 5820 and 10,555 g for cocoa farmers that used below, actual and above the recommended doses, respectively; while averages of cocoa outputs were 0.92, 3.35 and 1.32 metric tonnes for farmers that used below, actual and above recommended doses of fungicide respectively.

The study found out that the low environmental efficiency did not only raise the cost of production but also showed that the wrong use of fungicide in cocoa farm constituted environmental burden thus making the soil unsustainable for cocoa production.

The researchers therefore recommended that farmers should be educated on the significance and mode of application of recommended dose of fungicide on cocoa plantation.

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