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Doctoral thesis, 2016

Stewardship towards responsible management of pesticides

Amera sahilu, Tadesse


This thesis examines pesticide use, practice and associated human health and environmental impacts in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. It uses participatory action research as a philosophy and methodology in order to understand the Ethiopian pesticide delivery system so as to bridge the gap amongst the main actors and create a space for dialogue. The pesticide delivery system in Ethiopia comprises policy makers, researchers, pesticide manufacturers, wholesalers, vendors, civil societies and farmers. These actors with divergent interests had been working in a dispersed manner with no concerted effort to mitigate the problem. Stewardship as a moral obligation to mitigate the problem was, therefore, introduced to the actors. The aim was to bring these actors together so as to initiate a system-wide pesticide users’ stewardship network that shared a sense of responsibility at all levels to bring about an ethic of reduced and responsible use of pesticides. This was first initiated by establishing a national (meta) level multiactor pesticide stewardship association which later triggered a regional (meso) level pesticide risk communication and local (micro) level action-oriented alternative pest management experimentation through farmer field schools. Combined methods of qualitative and quantitative data collection were used to explore the processes at all levels. The process revealed that the meta level network was viewed by all actors as a platform for collaborative learning and collective action driving institutional change at many levels. The meso level showed that even if the pesticide hazards were evident and different types of safe use training was provided, farmers’ risk perception continued to be low while associated hazards remained high. This was, therefore, attributed to lack of proper risk communication, which requires reframing of the approach that promotes pesticides only as a means for agriculture productivity but gives less attention to their negative impacts. The micro level showed the field-based action as a means of participatory knowledge co-production, which has been contributing to transformation towards the overarching goal of pesticide users’ stewardship. This process faced multilevel communicative, systemic, organizational and societal barriers that challenged the federal level initiative but has been well managed by the local level action, which has been a lesson for federal level actors


environment; Ethiopia; FFS; Human health; IPM; pesticides; risk; stewardship

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2016, number: 2016:87
ISBN: 978-91-576-8676-3, eISBN: 978-91-576-8677-0
Publisher: Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Amera sahilu, Tadesse
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

URI (permanent link to this page)