Determinants of Smallholder Maize Farmer’s Perception on Use of Improved Weed Control Technologies in Eswatini

  •  Khumalo M    
  •  D. Kibirige    
  •  M. B. Masuku    
  •  H. R. Mloza-Banda    
  •  W. O. Mukabwe    
  •  B. P. Dlamini    


Environmental concerns, increase labour cost and increase in demand for food has urged farmer to use the most economic and concomitant method to their farming objectives. Therefore, this study focused on ascertaining maize farmer’s perceptions on the weed control methods they choose and the socio-economic characteristics that determine these perceptions. This study was conduct countrywide in the four agro-ecological zones of Eswatini. Primary data was collected from 240 randomly selected maize farmers in the four Agro-ecological Zone of Eswatini. Factor analysis was used to estimate principal components about farmer’s perception on the different weed control methods. Multiple regression method was used to ascertain the socio-economic factors determining farmers’ perceptions. Farmers were interviewed about their perception on the usage of herbicides and integrated weed control method. The five likert scale of attitudinal statements related to herbicide and integrated weed control methods was developed. Four principal components were generated by the analysis from the positive attitudinal statement on the use of herbicides. These include productivity and economical, inclusive and confidence, knowledgeable and readiness, environmental impact. Farmer perceived that herbicides are associated with increased productive, can be used with confidence, farmers were ready to use herbicides, on the other hand, farmers perceived herbicides to have a negative impact on the environment. The socio-economic drivers of these farmers’ perceptions included sex of the farmer, education level, farming experience, access to agricultural trainings, amount of farm incomes and group membership. Integrated weeding method (hand hoe weeding + herbicide use) was perceived to be labour saving, productive and has no harm on the environment. The socio-economic drivers of these farmers’ perception towards the use of integrated weed control method included group membership and education. The study recommends that government should increase the number of extension officers to extend extension contact to more farmers, thus improve information sharing to farmers on best agricultural practices. Sensitization workshops, trainings and On-farm demonstration related to the usage of the improved weed control technologies is desired to increase farmers’ access to knowledge about the use of these improved weeding technologies.

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