Perceived Health Hazards of Low-Quality Irrigation Water in Vegetable Production in Morogoro, Tanzania

Winfrida Mayilla, Flavianus Magayane, Bernard Keraita, Helena Ngowi

Abstract


This study assessed the perceptions of vegetable farmers, traders, consumers and key informants on the health hazards of using low-quality water in irrigation vegetable production in Morogoro, Tanzania. Methods used to collect data were a survey involving all farmers in Changarawe village and Fungafunga area using low-quality water for irrigation vegetable production (n=60), consumers of low-quality water irrigated vegetables (n=70) and vegetable traders selling low-quality water irrigated vegetables (n=60), focus group discussions (n=7) and key informant interviews (n=25). The study employed cross sectional research design. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate mean, frequencies and percentages while Mann-Whitney U-test and Kruskal-Wallis H-test assessed the association between social-demographic variables and respondents score on the health hazard perception scale of using low-quality water in vegetable production. Results showed skin itching, fungal diseases, bilharzias and worm infestation as among the perceived health hazards in using low-quality irrigation water. Health hazard perception differed among groups of farmers, consumers and vegetable traders (p<0.001). The mean ranks of the groups indicated that farmers perceive less health hazards in using low-quality water (mean rank = 147.98) compared to consumers (mean rank = 72.68) and vegetable traders (mean rank 69.64). More health hazards were perceived by Fungafunga farmers compared to farmers from the Changarawe village (p<0.001) while female farmers perceived less hazards in using low-quality water than male farmers (p < 0.05). Consumers with formal education perceived more health hazards than consumers with no formal education (p < 0.001) while vegetable traders from Fungafunga area perceived more health hazards in selling low-quality water irrigated vegetable than vegetable traders from the Changarawe village (p<0.001). These findings demonstrate the need to design health hazards minimization interventions for specific target group. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ep.v5n1p1

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