A cross-sectional study involving a total of 210 randomly selected small-scale farmers was interviewed from purposively selected vegetable growing villages located along the Lake Ziway watershed. Respondents were household members who grew vegetable crops. There were a total of 930 households in the selected villages and the lists of households who used irrigation were obtained from their respective village (kebele) administration, District Offices of Irrigation Development, and Office of Cooperative Promotion. Respondents were allocated equally from each village and the determined sample size (210) was proportionally selected from all villages. Respondents were selected from each village randomly through simple random sampling without replacement using the lottery method. The sample size was determined according to the formula of Leslie15 and proportionally selected from each village. Primary sample gathering was done by fieldwork for all three studies. Interviews of farmers, key informant interviews, and field observations were performed. This mixed-method approach aids triangulation and increases the rationality and dependability of the results.16 Face-to-face interviews were piloted to collect samples from farmers. The questionnaire was prepared in English and translated into Amharic and local languages (Oromifa) by the researcher and field assistants (under the direction of the researcher). The sample size was obtained using Equation 1:

Where n = required sample size, z = 1.96 for 95% confidence level, p = percentage selecting a choice, e = the percentage maximum error required (margin of error), and N = population size (930).

The questionnaire (Supplemental Material 1) aimed to collect data in four categories. Part one collected general information on farmer demographics, vegetable growing experience, pesticide use over the past 5 years, and land tenure. The second part consisted of eight questions to evaluate the knowledge of small-scale farmers about pesticides. The answers were recorded as ‘yes', ‘no', or ‘don't know. For every ‘correct' answer, a mark of ‘+1' was given. For the ‘wrong' answer, a mark of ‘−1' and for ‘don't know, a mark of ‘0' was given. A score of four or more indicated good knowledge and fewer than four indicated poor knowledge.17 Next, pesticide use and practices were addressed to collect information on the kinds of pesticides used, pesticide sources, ability to read the information available on the pesticide label, pesticide use practices such as the method of mixing, rates, and amounts of pesticides sprayed, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), disposal of pesticide cans and application methods.3 Finally, social and ecological effects were addressed to gather data on the negative effects of pesticides exposure, for example, the symptoms frequently experienced before or after pesticide spraying procedures and altering trends in biodiversity, e.g. changes in pests, birds, and insects (whether increasing, decreasing or constant). To investigate public health problems, data were collected on intense side effects (symptoms) that showed up inside forty-eight hours of pesticide application.

Data regarding training and support to farmers were obtained by interviewing retailers and agriculture extension workers. Ten (10) retailers, five (5) government extension workers, and four (4) plant protection workers were interviewed to collect additional data as supportive qualitative information. These key informants were interviewed for information on training and support provided to farmers either by retailers or government extension workers. Pictures of important observations were also included as supportive qualitative data. Checklists were used as an aid during field observation. Photos were frequently taken to document how farmers store, mix and spray pesticides.

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