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Qualitative cost-benefit analysis of using pesticidal plants in smallholder crop protection

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Assessing the potential drivers of farmers using pesticidal plants for crop protection is essential for wider adoption. However, few studies have focused on collaborative assessments of the underlying trade-offs when using pesticidal plant extracts for pest control. Smallholder farmers in northern Tanzania involved in farmer driven research assessing pesticidal plants evaluated the costs, benefits, trade-offs and areas for future investment. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information from 77 farmers and their views on pest problems and crop protection in common bean production. This was followed by small focus group discussions (n = 9) using a participatory framework to elucidate the costs and benefits of adopting pesticidal plant technology. A multiple correspondence analysis showed that pesticidal plant use was associated with men greater than 50 years old, and synthetic pesticide use was associated with younger aged farmers and women. Farmers who used synthetics generally did not report the presence of common pest species found in common bean production, whereas farmers who used pesticidal plants were associated with more frequent reports of pest species. This participatory cost–benefit analysis highlighted that tools and processing challenges were the main costs to using pesticidal plants. The main benefit reported when using pesticidal plants was a general improvement to family health. Farmers expressed overall a positive outcome when using pesticidal plants for crop protection and recommended that future investments focus on improving access to tools and education regarding plant processing and extraction to improve uptake of the technology by smallholder farmers. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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