Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 9343–9351 | Cite as

Farmers’ knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of pesticide use in apple farms of northern Iran: impact on safety behavior

  • Asghar BagheriEmail author
  • Naier Emami
  • Christos A. DamalasEmail author
  • Mohammad Sadegh Allahyari
Research Article


Farmers’ knowledge of pesticide use as well as their attitudes and perceptions concerning risks and safety play a crucial role in safe spraying operations in farms, but little is known for the inter-relationships among these variables and their impact on safety behavior. This study examined the levels of knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of pesticide use among apple farmers (n = 200) of Meshkinshahr County, Iran. All farmers used fungicides in their farms. On a scale from 1 to 5, the mean scores of knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions were 3.66 ± 0.77, 3.36 ± 0.59, and 4.37 ± 0.42, respectively, implying a moderate level of knowledge of pesticide use and attitudes towards pesticides, but positive perceptions of pesticides among respondents. Contact with extension agents, education level, reading pesticide labels, and household literate members showed positive association (P < 0.01) with knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of pesticide use, while contact with other farmers was negatively associated (P < 0.01) with these variables. Farming experience showed positive association (P < 0.01) with knowledge of pesticide use, while age showed negative association (P < 0.01) with attitudes towards pesticides. Poisoning experience was negatively associated with both attitudes and perceptions (P < 0.01), but not with knowledge. Farmers’ knowledge of pesticide use (total effect 0.62) was the most important variable affecting pesticide use behavior of apple farmers followed by attitudes (total effect 0.50) and perceptions (total effect 0.42). Also, knowledge impacted attitudes towards pesticide use (accounting for 71% of the variability in farmers’ attitudes), while attitudes in turn impacted perceptions (accounting for 69% of the variability in farmers’ perceptions). Findings specify inter-relationships between farmers’ knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions and the impact of those variables on safety behavior concerning pesticide use. Increasing farmers’ knowledge of pesticide use and modifying attitudes and perceptions concerning pesticides are necessary for improving safety behavior of farmers in the use of pesticides.


Survey Pest management Structural equation modeling Policy 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesUniversity of Mohaghegh ArdabiliArdabilIran
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural DevelopmentDemocritus University of ThraceOrestiadaGreece
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural ManagementRasht Branch, Islamic Azad UniversityRashtIran

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