Poverty-Environment Nexus: Use of Pesticide in Cotton Zone of Punjab, Pakistan

  •  Muhammad khan    
  •  Naeem Akram    
  •  Muhammad Husnain    
  •  Ihtsham ul Haq Padda    
  •  Saima Qureshi    


The use of pesticides in Pakistan has reached 117513 metric tonnes in 2005 which was only 12530 metric tonnes in 1985.  This colossal increase in pesticide use raises serious health and environmental concerns. The purpose of this Poverty-Environment Nexus study is to answer three questions relating to pesticide use; 1) Are the poor farmers using more amounts of pesticides?, 2) Are the poor farmers using more toxic pesticides?, 3) Is pesticide use and its associated health effects, impacting the poor farmers to a greater extent than the non-poor farmers? A survey of 318 farmers was conducted in the cotton belt in Punjab, an area known for extremely intensive cotton production and pesticide use. In regards to the first two questions, survey indicates that although the poor are currently using smaller amounts of pesticides, they are using relatively more toxic pesticides.  In regards to the third question, results are consistent, where poor farmers reported experiencing relatively higher number of pesticide associated illness and taking less safety measures. The overall evidence suggests that poor are more vulnerable to environmental hazard. The study recommends that while taking pesticide management decisions, such as regulating misuse or overuse of pesticides, launching awareness programs for farmers, or imparting training in integrated pest management, focusing on poor farmers may better address these issues.

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