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Pesticides are important tools in pest management, but most of them are toxic by nature. Pesticides can thus be dangerous to crops, humans, animals and the environment. This means that while choosing a pesticide, it is important to read and understand the guidelines on the product label to minimize chances of having a problem once you use the pesticide.

Read keenly
when selecting pesticides; ensure that you have learnt about the pest, decide how much pest activity you can tolerate and read about the required safety equipment. to reduce risks, choose the product with low toxicity by looking for the word “Caution” on the product. Farmers should also learn about the pest, to ascertain whether it has been identified properly or not by an expert. “Look at the pest on the label then choose a product that is designed with the pest in mind. Usually the pests that the product targets will be listed on the label,”

Is it a short- or long-term problem?
Before choosing a pesticide; also consider its effectiveness and value, quality and find out which active ingredients are in the pesticide and the effects it has on the plant. choosing a pesticide should be determined based on circumstances. If it is an emergency, a shorter-lived, fast acting and more acute toxic material (such as organophosphate for cockroaches) may be necessary. But a longer lasting, slow acting and less toxic material (such as boric acid) may be better for chronic pest problems.

“It is also important to consider storage of the product; the type of crop, a high value crop requires a good product and the spraying regime, there are pesticides that take a regime of six months and those that take a week,” farmers also need to decide how much pest activity they can tolerate because it may not be possible to completely eliminate the pest, but you may be able to keep the population to a bearable level.

Terrain matters
the treatment area should also be considered because there are areas that are sensitive. Does the area slope towards a vulnerable area such as a stream, garden, well, or playground? Are valuable plants nearby that could be affected by drift? species specificity is also important as it is especially important to look for before using toxic chemicals since certain pesticides only affect the target animals or plants and try to avoid getting broad spectrum pesticides that have potential to kill or harm many beneficial species along with the pest. Similar situations as that of your school may help in estimating the kind of effect it will have. one should consider endurance of the animal or plant’s endurance to the effects of a pesticide and watch for success in pest control.

Is it legal?
it is important to find out whether the product [pesticide] is registered and know the laws regarding its use before buying it.
“Look at the pesticide label again, follow its directions for use, registrations, storage, and disposal to the letter go through the words that signal toxicity levels such as:
• DANGER-a taste to a teaspoon taken by mouth could kill an average-sized adult,
• WARNING-a teaspoonful to an ounce taken by mouth could kill an average-sized adult and
• CAUTION-an ounce to over a pint taken by mouth could kill an average-sized adult.
•DIRECTIONS-“Lastly, consider disposal, please do not put pesticides in toilets, sinks, other drains or gutters. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper disposal,”

Where to buy pesticides
Agroking Uganda limited says there are no agricultural pesticides manufactured or formulated in Uganda. Supplies of imported pesticides come mainly from India, China, Taiwan, Israel, Europe or branch offices of international companies in Kenya.
At Agroking Uganda limited they have Fungicide [for fungal diseases], Volar MZ, Rodazin, Supazim, Milor as curative pesticides and that they also have herbicides that kill weeds such as No weed.

pesticides types; Striker 247 SC and Rockett 44EC are being used to fight Army worm which has spread across the country. some of the recommended pestcides; Acephate [ACE 750 SP], Thiamethoxam 250g/kg [Actara 25 WG], Pirimiphos-methyl [Actellic 2% dust], fipronil 12.5% ULV [Adonis 12.5 UL], Profenfos 30%+ Lambda-Cyhalothrin1.5% [Agro-Lambacin Super 315 EC], Dimethoate 40% EC [Agro-Thoate 40% EC], Cypermethrin [Cymbush25%EC] and Diazinon Pests are a big nuisance to farmers because, among other things, they reduce crop production.

To overcome the problem, farmers often resort to buying pesticides which are poisonous chemicals manufactured to kill the pests. They may be dusted or sprayed on the crop to prevent pest attack.

The farmer, is however, expected to know that it is extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the pesticides. If they are applied to crops such as tomatoes or other vegetables in heavy doses, they can be harmful to the people that consume the items.

Innocent insects and animals which we need to preserve the environment like bees, butterflies, worms, and lizards may get killed by the pesticides. We need bees to enhance pollination. Pesticides may kill worms which would be useful in aeration of the soil and decomposition of organic matter.

Some pesticides sink into the soil and get absorbed by food crops. Yet this is food for humans and farmed animals. Besides the poisonous aspect, pesticides are expensive and their continued use reduces farmers’ profits. Irish potato farmers are said to devote nearly half of their crop production costs to pesticides, fighting potato late blight.

One way to avoid pesticide use is to resort to growing pest resistant crop varieties that are bred in our agricultural research institutes. It is always good to seek advice from the area agricultural services extension worker about what crop varieties to plant with regard to pest tolerance and resistance.

With the onset of climate change, new crop diseases and other challenges such as extreme weather conditions have come along. It will require a lot of scientific innovations and a positive attitude by African policy makers towards those innovations for farming to accelerate its pace.

Research in agricultural biotechnology has come up with Irish potato that can be grown without worrying about potato late blight. We now have banana resistant to the bacterial wilt. We have B-Cotton which can be grown without pesticide use. We are only waiting for our policy makers to come up with the regulatory law for farmers to get access to the crop varieties.


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