Partnership in Development Research Research Briefs No. 60

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1 Partnership in Development Research Research Briefs No. 60 Impact of Chemicals on Agricultural Development in Sharkia By: Dr. Mahran Soliman Eita Introduction and research problem: Strategies of agricultural development in Egypt focused during the successive five-year plans, since the inauguration of the economic reform program, on the environmental dimension of development. The plan that focused most on the environmental dimension, was the 4 th five year plan (1997/ /2002), which reviewed several environmental issues related to the agricultural sector, including reducing the increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that jeopardize the life of citizens. Among the main programs to limit the use of chemicals in agriculture is to provide training and agricultural programs for specialists and advisors, in order to activate their role particularly in helping vegetable cultivators who tend to over use chemical fertilizers. This study questions how to reduce the impact of pollution and preserve the environment and the health of citizens. It also seeks to integrate the environmental component in productive economic plans and policies. In order to find solutions to pollution, it is important to diagnose and analyze the problem. The best way to uncover the roots of the problem is to undertake field-work. Objectives: The general goal of the study is to reduce environmental pollution resulting from the use of chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) and examine their impact on sustained agricultural development. Other related goals are to:

2 - Examine the development of agricultural chemical technology (both fertilizers and pesticides) - Examine the impact of chemical technology on agricultural development - Examine the impact of economic reform on the volume of fertilizers and pesticides used for agricultural purposes. - Examine some technological applications that use reduced amounts of chemicals in agriculture and their impact on productivity per feddan. This refers to organic agriculture, the use of agricultural waste, in addition to the bio- technology of crop breeds that resist diseases, and the expansion of manual and bio-combat of diseases and pesticides. Methodology: A purposive sample was chosen in the two marakez of Belbeis and Mashtoul al Souk in Sharkia, primarily known for the cultivation of vegetables and their proximity to the marketing centers in Cairo. Al Salam village was selected in Belbeis. Its vegetables-cultivated area constitutes 16.1% of the whole vegetables- cultivated areas in the markaz. It also has 94 farmers. Al Mounir village in Mashtoul Al Souk was also selected as a study site. It accounts for 61.4% of the total vegetables- cultivated area in the markaz and has 124 farmers. The vegetables sample included the main vegetables cultivated in the study sites namely: tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries, green beans and green paprika. Findings: Economic and productive characteristics of study sample: 1. Strawberry: The total number of strawberry farmers is 158, including 72 in Dar El Salam and 86 in Al Monir village. It covers an area of feddans in the two villages. Average farming price in Al Mounir is high as demonstrated by the high price of seedlings required per feddan, and consequently the high productivity per feddan, and high rates of fertilization which resulted in the increase in total costs in Al Mounir village compared to Al Salam.

3 2. Paprika: The total number of farmers is 64 in Al Salam village and 78 in Al Mounir. Cultivated area amounted to 110 feddans in the two villages. Productivity per feddan in Al Mounir was higher than the average productivity per feddan in the sample. Al Mounir also had higher rates of fertilizers and pesticides use compared to Al Salam. This may be due to the cultivations of kinds of paprika that require high use of fertilizers. The value of paprika seedlings per feddan is higher in al Mounir compared to al Salam. Despite the high cost of cultivation per feddan in Al Mounir (EP 300 more than al Salam), the net revenue per feddan is higher by EP 1119 in El Mounir compared to the other village. This is due to high productivity per feddan and high farming price in El Mounir. 3. Eggplant: The total number of eggplant farmers is 184. The number of farmers in Al Mounir is higher by 30 farmers despite the larger cultivated area in Al Salam. Productivity per feddan in Al Mounir reached 11.9 tons i.e. 1.6 tons more than al Salam. The farming price of eggplant reached EP per ton in Al Mounir i.e. EP 25.3 more than the other village. The reason behind high productivity in Al Mounir is attributed to the good quality of the old land. The continuous use of fertilizers and pesticides has also raised its value. 4.Tomatoes: The total number of tomatoes farmers is 168: 82 in Al Salam and 86 in Al Mounir. The cultivated land amounted to feddans and the productivity per feddan in Al Mounir is 2.32 tons more than Al Salam. The farming price is EP 16.3 per ton more in Al Mounir than the other village. Production costs are also higher in Al Mounir compared to Al Salam. 5. Potatoes: The total number of potatoes farmers is 142: 64 in Al Salam and 78 in Al Mounir. The potatoes- cultivated area reached feddans; Productivity per feddan in Al Mounir is higher than al Salam and the farming price reached EP per ton in Al Mounir compared to EP in Al Salam. The volume of seeds used per feddan is higher in Al Mounir than the other village, resulting in high costs per feddan in Al Mounir. And yet the net revenues per feddan is higher in Al Mounir than Al Salam due to the high productivity per feddan and the farming price.

4 6. Cucumbers: The total number of cucumber farmers reached 148: 70 in Al Salam and 78 in Al Mounir. Cultivated land amounted to feddans and productivity per feddan is 0.21 tons higher in Al Mounir than Al Salam. No phosphate or Azote (Nitrogen) fertilizers are used and the net revenues per feddan in Al Mounir are higher than al Salam despite high costs. 7. Zucchini: The total number of zucchini farmers is 140: 76 in Al Mounir and the rest in Al Salam. Cultivated land amounts to feddans and the farming price of zucchini is EP 22.8 more in Al Mounir than Al Salam. Fertilizers, azote and phosphate and pesticides are used in the cultivation of zucchini in Al Mounir and the revenues per feddan are higher in Al Mounir than Al Salam. Findings indicated that azote fertilizers are used more often in the cultivation of all crops because they contribute to the growth of the plants: the stronger the plant, the higher the possibility to obtain good fruit. Crops can be listed in a descending order according to the volume of pesticides used as follows: paprika, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and zucchini with the amount of fertilizers used as follows: 5.796, 5.712, 5.541, 5.010, 4.995, 4.820, kg per feddan respectively. The use of pesticides constitutes a burden on the production costs in addition to the harmful impact on vegetables and fruits in the study site. Findings indicated that despite the over-use of chemicals on vegetables, actual productivity is less than the productivity needed to increase profits for all crops on all levels. This implies that productivity has not increased yet to the level that maximizes profits through the use of chemicals. Current trends: -Source of chemical fertilizers: Traders of chemical fertilizers are the main source (75%) followed by the village bank (19%). None of the farmers mentioned the agricultural stock exchange, which means that the private sector is the main source of fertilizers.

5 -Determinant of quantity and quality of fertilizers: 57% pointed out that the expertise of farmers determines the quantity and quality of required fertilizers, followed by advice of neighbors (6.5%). Agricultural supervisors or advisors occupied the lowest position. -Way of adding chemical fertilizers: The most common way is to add a handful of fertilizers (82.6%), then add fertilizers with the irrigation water (13%). -Time of adding last quantity of chemical fertilizers: Farmers who add the last quantity of fertilizers two weeks before harvest and those who add fertilizers immediately before harvest constituted 34.2%. Those who add fertilizers one month before harvest constituted 31.6%. -Impact of elimination of subsidies and liberalization of trade on chemical fertilizers: 72.3% of the sample reported that the quantity of added fertilizers has not been affected by recent developments while 12.5% said that the quantity increased. -To what extent farmers know about excessive use of chemical fertilizers: 57.3% of the farmers stated that they know that chemical fertilizers are hazardous to human health; 42.73% said they did not know. -Source of recommendations about using chemical fertilizers: 240 farmers spoke about the absence of the role of the agricultural supervisors, advisors and the head of the cooperatives in familiarizing farmers about the quantities of chemical fertilizers they should use. 60% said that they rely on themselves in determining the quantity they add. -To what extent farmers are convinced of using alternatives to chemical fertilizers: The available alternatives are organic fertilizers, crop waste and paper fertilizers. Organic fertilizers occupy the first position in terms of rate of use (60%), followed by paper fertilizers (33.4%). -Knowledge about paper fertilizers: 91.8% of the farmers knew about paper fertilizers as alternatives to chemical fertilizers -Resistance to disease and pests: The Badria worm is among the diseases that infect crops (34.2%), while spiders are the pests that infect the least (15.8%). -Means of resistance: Chemical resistance is one of the main ways farmers use to combat diseases (83.4%), followed by manual resistance (15.6%). -Determinant of kind and quantity of pesticides: 83.7% of the farmers rely on themselves in determining the type of pesticides to use. Only 4.6% of the farmers consult the agricultural advisor.

6 -Combating diseases: 94.7% of the farmers rely on themselves in combating the disease. Only 5.4% of the total number of farmers ask the agricultural cooperative for assistance. -Spraying method: The majority of farmers (74.8%) use an engine that they carry on their backs, followed by sprayers (14.8%). -Awareness about pesticides: 90% of the farmers reported that agricultural supervisors do not raise awareness about the hazards of using pesticides. -Harmful effect of pesticides: 70% of the farmers reported that pesticides have no harmful effect during spraying. Wrong use of pesticides (13.8%), and using highly poisonous pesticides (11.2%) might cause damage. -How to control the use of prohibited pesticides: 42.3% of the farmers asserted the importance of preventing the production and export of prohibited pesticides. 42.3% believe it is important to provide a safe alternative. Suggestions to reduce use of pesticides: This includes use of traps (41.5%) and manual resistance (26%). Characteristics of agricultural chemicals in Belbeis and Mashtoul El Souk, Sharkia -Agricultural chemicals are divided into locally produced chemicals from six main sources (village bank 7%), agricultural cooperative, stock exchange and public sector companies (13%), private sector (20%) and wholesale traders (40%). The second type of chemicals is imported through importing traders (38%), private sector companies (31%) and dealing with traders (23%). -Chemicals that traders deal with include Urea (46.5%), Super Phosphate (15%), Potassium Phosphate (48%) and different kinds of pesticides for insects, spiders, parasites and hormones. They also deal with paper fertilizers that contain food elements such as iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium and organic fertilizers. -Findings indicated that the role of traders is not limited to the distribution of chemicals, but also giving advice (86%). Advice ranges between frequency of use (26%), mode of use (26%) and crops used (32%). -29% indicated that some agencies follow up and monitor traders and their distribution of chemicals such as the ministry of supply and foreign trade, ministry of environment, and the ministry of agriculture and land reclamation represented in the central laboratory for pesticides.

7 Recommendations: The following recommendations have been reached: Moderate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is recommended because of their impact on increasing the cost of productivity per feddan. Enhance the role of agricultural cooperatives and advisors to provide technical support and information to farmers on policies and procedures of using fertilizers and pesticides and their potential harmful effect and available alternatives. Raise awareness of farmers about the correct way to obtain high productivity while avoiding the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers or chemical elements. Regular monitoring of traders of chemical products particularly with regard to the validity of their products and degree of toxin. Take the necessary precautions during use of chemicals. This applies to farmers as well as individuals who dispose of chemical waste. Apply strict control on the importation and exchange of pesticides particularly the prohibited types.

8 About the Author Dr. Mahran Soliman Eita: head of the department of production economics, Institute of Agricultural Economics Research. About the Program The Egyptian Partnership in Development Research Program aims to inform development policies and strategies by linking those who conduct research with those who can utilize its findings to promote development in local communities. It promotes a research agenda which is responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities. The program is characterized by a multidisciplinary, demand-driven, and participatory approach. The program began in Egypt in The program is directed by an Advisory Board of prominent members who are concerned with development issues. About the Series The PDR Policy Brief Series disseminates the results of research conducted under the auspices of the Partnership in Development Research Program funded by the Netherland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation. It is currently operative in nine countries, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, Kerala-India, Mali, Nicaragwa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. The authors are solely responsible for the content of the Policy Briefs. Copies of the Briefs can be ordered from the Secretariat of the Program or through the Program's web site. Partnership in Development Research American University in Cairo Social Research Center 11th Floor,Cairo Center 106Kasr Al-Aini Street Cairo-Egypt Tel: Fax: Website:

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