Small scale farmers’ knowledge on grain losses from bean bruchid, pesticides safe use and implication on food security and safety in Huye District, Rwanda
The common bean is the most important grain legume in Rwanda, as a source of 40% protein, playing a significant role in human nutrition, food security and income. Bean bruchid is a major constraint in stored grains, reducing both quantity, quality and storage period. The study aimed at establishing farmers knowledge on bean bruchid problem, pesticides safe use, and hazardousness. We conducted a study using 91 farmers selected randomly in Rwaniro Sector, from four villages as follows: 23 farmers per village for Gatwaro, Rumana and Amarongi, and 22 farmers in Nyakabuye. We used questionnaires and face to face interviews to collect data on bean bruchid, control methods, pesticide use and safety measures. The results indicate that farmers experienced high bruchid infestation starting three months after harvesting. 37.4% lost up to 30% of grains, 17.6.% lost up to 50%, and 17.6% lost more than 50%. The loss was quite variable and depended on storage period and conditions. The grain loss causes shortage, food insecurity, high prices and reduced intake; denying farmers' s access and affordability. In this study, 53.9% of farmers used pesticides, while they were not trained on safe use, as a result 99% of them cooked and sold treated grains without waiting for recommended post treatment period. Other traditional control methods used include ash, lime and pepper flour but their effectiveness is not clearly documented. We recommend focused training on pesticides safe use for food security and safety, and also development of different bruchid control techniques and dissemination mechanism to smallholders. Since beans are next to meat in food security and nutrition under Rwanda context, bruchid damage is a major challenge in the country...
Keywords: Beans, Bruchids, Pesticide Control