“When you first receive a product, ensure you check the expiry date and if it has expired, return it to the manufacturer. He or she will know how to dispose of it. Alternatively, they can advice on how the disposal should be done.” Explains Dr Kocholla.

 Do you want your products to be effective? Simply do not come up with your own specifications. Farmers are advised to follow the stated specifications. If it says two litres per acre, this should strictly be adhered to. This will ensure the chemical is fully utilised and minimise wastage.

“An under-dose will create a resistant trait to the product while an overdose will cause the crops to burn and at the same time, affect the health of the person handling it.” Just like when planting, timing is vital when applying chemicals and must be done at specific times.

“You cannot spray at day time because it will affect not only the plant, but also the person applying. Spray very early in the morning or late evening when the air is still. This will ensure the chemicals land where they are needed,” he says.

Chemicals should be applied to the target disease or pest, do not spray a pesticide just for the sake of doing it.

 According to Mr Kocholla, distributors stock products from different manufacturers. It is, therefore, important that farmers get the manufacturer’s address correctly because it is only them who can give correct advice in case of intoxification.

“In case you take a chemical by mistake, seek an antidote from the manufacturer,” he advises. Little things that we take for granted end up affecting us negatively. The same applies to agrochemical applications.

When applying the chemicals, it is advisable that we put on the right protective gear, technically referred to as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are normally designed based on the product classes’ toxic level, where someone spraying a class one chemical has a specific PPE and same applies to the other classes.

According to Dr Kocholla, the protective gear must be worn from head to toe. During storage, it is advisable that powdered products be put on top of liquid ones to avoid fire outbreaks in case of any spillage.

When done the opposite way, the liquid product will easily mix with powdered ones if accidentally spilled.

 The vital information is found on the product’s label. It is, therefore, crucial to read the label with utmost care and avoid relying on advertisements alone.

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