Does Pesticide Use Influence Crop Productivity in Uganda?


May 14, 2024 - Linda Nakato, Umar Kabanda, Pauline Nakitende, Tess Lallemant & Milu Muyanga

Pests have damaging effects on crop yields, and consequently household welfare and food security. In Uganda, crop losses due to pests and diseases amount to are estimated at US$ 35-200 million (bananas), US$60-80 million (cassava), US$10 million (cotton), and US$8 million (coffee) annually (PARM, 2017). Yet, the 2019/2020 Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) reports that only 6% of Ugandan farmers use pesticides which include insecticides, herbicides, acaricides among others. Though the dependence on pesticides is growing significantly in Africa, it is very low in Uganda as compared to other countries like Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ethiopia where according to Sheahan and Barrett (2017) pesticide use stood at 13%, 31%, and 33% respectively.

Despite the benefits, some studies explain that the indiscriminate use of pesticides on food crops lowers food quality and reduces yields in Uganda (Ngabirano and Birungi, 2020). While studies confirm that proper use of pesticides can prevent large crop losses, and thus increase crop productivity (Popp et al., 2013), analytical gaps still exist on the types and sources of pesticides used in Uganda. In addition, there is also inadequate literature showing the relationship between pesticide use and crop productivity in Uganda. Numerous studies have delved into the analysis of factors influencing crop productivity among smallholder farmers in various developing nations (Obasi et al., 2013; Mango et al., 2017; Mekuriaw et al., 2018; Myeni et al., 2019). However, there remains a notable gap in investigating the relationship between pesticide adoption and crop productivity in Uganda. The empirical gap identified motivates the study to examine the effects of pesticide use on crop productivity.

This policy brief makes use of data from the Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS)-2015/2016, 2018/19, and 2019/20 to examine the types and sources of pesticides used and pesticide use effect on crop productivity in Uganda. We begin the analysis by first examining the determinants of pesticide use in Uganda.


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