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Keywords:

  • Agricultural policy;
  • non-market valuation;
  • policy;
  • production economics
  • Q10;
  • Q18;
  • Q19

Abstract

Pesticide spraying by farmers has an adverse impact on their health. However, in studies to date examining farmers’ exposure to pesticides, the costs of ill health and their determinants have been based on information provided by farmers themselves. Some doubt has therefore been cast on the reliability of these estimates. In this study, we address this by conducting surveys among two groups of farmers who use pesticides on a regular basis. The first group is made up of farmers who perceive that their ill health is due to exposure to pesticides and have obtained at least some form of treatment (described in this article as the ‘general farmer group’). The second group is composed of farmers whose ill health has been diagnosed by doctors and who have been treated in hospital for exposure to pesticides (described here as the ‘hospitalised farmer group’). Cost comparisons are made between the two groups of farmers. Regression analysis of the determinants of health costs show that the most important determinants of medical costs for both samples are the defensive expenditure, the quantity of pesticides used per acre per month, frequency of pesticide use and number of pesticides used per hour per day. The results have important policy implications.