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Knowledge Diffusion, Pesticide Related Decision-Making and The Farming Community of Northern Sultanate of Oman.

Al Zadjali, Said A. I. (2014) Knowledge Diffusion, Pesticide Related Decision-Making and The Farming Community of Northern Sultanate of Oman. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

During the last two decades Oman has experienced rapid economic development but this has been accompanied by environmental problems. Although agriculture in Oman is not usually considered a major component of the oil-dominated economy, government policy has been directed towards diversification of national income and as a result there has been an increasing emphasis on revenue from agriculture and an enhancement of production via the use of irrigation, machinery and inputs such as pesticides. In recent years this has been tempered with a range of interventions to encourage more sustainable production. Certain pesticides have been prohibited; there has been a promotion of organic agriculture and an emphasis on education and awareness programs for farmers. The last point is of especial relevance given the nature of the farm labour market in Oman and a reliance on expatriate and frequently untrained labour. The research described here examines the process through which agricultural policy is developed by the upper levels of the government executive within a centralised system, including support for international agreements and protocols, and the mechanisms by which these policies are intended to be implemented. Using semi-structured interview techniques a group of key informants helped identify the key aspects of, and problems with, government support for agriculture. They provided insights on the current role of agriculture in Omani society and the barriers to future expansion. They also identified a number of problems associated with the current state of the industry, including the nature of the expatriate work force, the profligate use of natural resources and the excessive use of pesticides. They also identified a possible counterbalancing influence in the emerging Farmers’ Association. The research also explored the state of knowledge at farm-level regarding the safe use of pesticides and what factors could enhance or indeed operate against the spread and implementation of that knowledge. The effectiveness of the existing extension services in relation to pesticide safety was explored through a detailed survey of current pesticide use, labour awareness of pesticide regulation and transfer of knowledge between farmers. From these results the potential for development of farmer-lead knowledge diffusion models is explored. Problems associated with pesticide use in developing countries are mostly associated with misuse, which can be attributed to a number of causes: lack of education and training in pesticide use; pesticide subsidies; lack or inadequate information on their hazards; difficulty in conducted needed research due to fiscal constraints; problems with communications and extension; unwillingness of farmers to accept risk of crop loss; the effect of the tropical climates on the use of protective clothing; use of toxic materials in a hazardous manner; and inadequate regulation and enforcement. In many developing countries, the development and enforcement of pesticide policy and regulations does not have important priority. .The results show that the membership of the recently established Al-Batinah Farmers’ Association (FA) is helping its members adhere more than other farmers to legislation with respect to pesticide use and safety equipment. FA farms also appear to have a better record on the use of safety equipment and dispose of waste more in accordance with existing legislation. Further research is, however, required to compare downstream aspects of pesticide use on FA and non-FA farms, especially in relation to the ability of those applying pesticides (mixing, applying, maintaining harvest intervals) as well as at the ability of decision-makers to link correct pest/disease diagnosis with the selection of the most appropriate product. The research concludes with a series of key recommendations for farmers, extensionists and government policy makers, perhaps most relevant of which would be that FA organisations should be encouraged to flourish in Oman as a means of reducing the impact of pesticides.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Al Zadjali, Said A. I.
Date : 2014
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2014.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 24 Apr 2020 15:26
Last Modified : 24 Apr 2020 15:26
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855027

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