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Safe and effective use

The safe handling of products by farmers is an essential part of product stewardship. It is vital to ensure the safety of farm workers, consumers and the environment. Training is key and programmes should focus on these four areas:

  1. packaging and labelling;
  2. transport and storage;
  3. safe and effective spraying;
  4. safe disposal of containers and obsolete stocks.

Why does training matter?

The aim of training is to change attitudes amongst those who are not adhering to best practices in order to encourage the safe and effective use of pesticides. Amongst the most vulnerable users are smallholders and contractors using backpack sprayers. The world's leading knapsack sprayer manufacturers have therefore collaborated to define the industry's best practices for using knapsack sprayers. You can view the best practices online or download a .pdf file.

The resource centre offers a range of training materials for you to teach yourself or for you to adapt for local use to train others. Each module is presented as a downloadable PowerPoint presentation for offline viewing and as a flash presention and an html file for online viewing. Quizes to supplement learning will be added in the next few months.

We want to know what you think - please let us have your feedback on the training materials provided and on the practices by using the forum or contact form. 

Training works

In 2004, a three year independent survey was commissioned to find the attitudes on safe use of pesticides (Matthews, 2008). The survey covered over 9,000 pesticide users in 26 countries. Those surveyed were among the most vulnerable users – mainly smallholders and contractors using backpack sprayers.

The key findings are encouraging showing that on site training is making a difference:

  • 54% learned something about safe use in the previous year and 97% in the previous 3 years.
  • Safe transport of goods is well understood (accounting for only 1% of accidents).
  • 75% read the label before using a product for the first time.
  • Most are familiar with safe methods of mixing products and loading sprayers.
  • On average, four of the recommended protective clothing items are worn while spraying.
  • 94% recognize the need to take action if splashed with pesticide.

The report also highlights two key areas where training needs to be intensified:

  • safe storage of pesticides and
  • disposal of products

An industry wide approach is necessary to tackle this problem effectively.

This Stewardship Community site is designed for that purpose.

We intend that this section will grow as the site matures. To this end, if you have an example of good practice regarding safe and effective use, that you are happy to share, please contact us so that we can include it here.

Case Studies in this section:

Transport and Storage:
Secure storage of crop protection products Everyone agrees that secure storage ensures that only those who need to use CPPs for their intended purpose have access. Where this does not happen the consequences can be tragic… read more

Safe and Effective Spraying:
Testing knapsack sprayers industry experts working towards ensuring compliance with the requirements of the International Standard ISO 19932 2006 , explain why testing knapsack sprayers will be a first step to promoting safer use.... read more

Safe use training in the Andes Training small farmers in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru on how to handle and apply crop protection products safely and effectively for a more sustainable agriculture .... read more

Safe use training in East Africa Collins Wanyama MSc, Real IPM, Kenya shares his experiences.... read more

Safely Covered The use of correct Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) can make a significant difference in reducing operators’ potential exposure to crop .protection products …. read more

Safe Use Training in China 400 Pesticide Safe Use Training Programmes have been conducted over 3 years from 2002-2004 at 60-80 locations by Syngenta (China) Investment Co. Ltd. in co-operation with the National Agricultural Technology Extension & Service Centre (NATESC)… read more

Nozzle Technology Ensuring pesticides hit their target not only ensures the best level of control from the minimal chemical input, but also reduces the risk of environmental pollution… read more

Safe disposal of containers and obsolete stocks:
Sustainable packaging solutions Farmers around the world are getting better at safely disposing of waste, including empty crop protection chemical containers. Even so, there remains a need for global training initiatives to improve general practice… read more


Matthews, G. A. (2008). Attitudes and behaviours regarding use of crop protection products - A survey of more than 8500 smallholders in 26 countries. Crop Protection 27(3-5), 834-846.