Pesticide Residue Trends in Fruits and Vegetables from Farm to Fork in Kampala Metropolitan Area, Uganda—A Mixed Methods Study
Ssempebwa, John C.
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This mixed methods study used laboratory measurements of pesticide residues in produce, semi-structured questionnaires, and in-depth interview data to describe trends in pesticide residue in produce and handling and processing practices for fruits (watermelon and passion fruit) and vegetables (tomato, cabbage, and eggplant) along the farm to fork chain. Of the 50 farmers visited, 34 (68.0%) sold their fruits and vegetables to transporters, 11 (22.0%) to market vendors, and 4 (8.0%) directly to homes and restaurants. The majority 42 (93.3%) of the consumers (home/restaurant) purchased their fruits and vegetables from market vendors and transporters. Washing with water or vinegar, wiping with a cloth, peeling the outer layer, and blending and cooking were the most common post-harvesting processing methods used by stakeholders along the supply chain. Some farmers and market vendors reported spraying fruits and vegetables with pesticides either prior- or post-harvest to increase shelf life. Statistically significant decreasing pesticide residue trends along the farm to fork chain were observed for dioxacarb, likely due to degradation or washing, peeling, cooking, blending, or wiping by consumers. Increasing trends were observed for methidathion and quinalphos possibly due to pesticide applications. There is a need in Uganda to promote practices that minimize pesticide use and exposure through diet, while maintaining food integrity.