M. M. Escalada
Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
Posters on insecticides displayed inside and outside pesticide stores are perceived as effective in encouraging needless use of insecticides. Farmers also believe that posters encourage them to use insecticide more although that bit of information is not mentioned in the posters, revealing the close emotional association between a poster’s message and pesticide use. Farmers strongly believe that posters encouraged them to buy insecticide products since these were already tested and proven by professionals. All of the respondents believe that insecticide posters were intended for farmers since they were the users of insecticides, the product promoted by the posters.
These were the findings in a study conducted by Dennis C. Cortes, for his BS Development Communication thesis at the Visayas State University. Cortes examined the interpretation of insecticide posters by rice farmers in four towns in Leyte, Philippines. The study, awarded outstanding social science thesis in school year 2011 by Phi Delta, determined farmers’ perception and reactions to pesticide information in outdoor print media advertisements.
Branding, visual images and text size of posters are elements seen as most attractive by farmers. The study suggests that the use of animated images in the poster should be avoided since they lacked self-involvement. As most farmers involved in the study belong to the old age group and have visual acuity problems, text size should be considered in outdoor print advertisements.
Research procedure. The six insecticide posters studied were Legend, Applaud 25 SC, Nurelle, Lorsban 3E, Anvil and Chix. Farmers were gathered in a barangay hall to collect their background information through a questionnaire. The researcher explained the research procedure before the respondents were individually interviewed. With the help of senior year development communication students who were trained in interviewing, respondents were asked first about their background characteristics and pest management practices. Next, respondents were exposed to the first poster for three minutes. After the exposure, respondents were asked about their interpretation of the poster. The same procedure was followed until the last poster was viewed.
Respondents’ profile. Of the 100 respondents, 59 percent were men and 41 percent were women. Most of the respondents fell in the old age group (46-50 years old) while only a few belonged to the young age (<21 years old) group. In terms of education, half (50%) of them attended elementary level of education and 26 percent reached high school level. Some 11% reached college level and 13% had no schooling at all. Most had spent their lives as rice farmers, with farming experience ranging from 5-60 years and a mean of 25 years. Farmers had mean yields of 2 t/ha.
Pest management. Black bug appears to be the most destructive pest reported by more than one-half (59%) of the respondents. Other rice pests mentioned were golden apple snail (51%), rice bug (28%), rat (16%) and tungro (10%). Others indicated green leafhopper (8%), bird (8%), leaffolder (4%) and surprisingly a few respondents (3%) reported the ladybird beetle which is a natural enemy.
In terms of control methods, the majority (85%) of the farmers applied pesticide, hand picking (26%), light trap (23%), baiting (20%), water management (20%) and ducks (5%). Most of the respondents used pesticides within 1-30 days after transplanting while others treated their crop from 30-160 days after transplanting. More than two-thirds (69%) of the respondents obtained information on insecticide use from extension workers. Less than a third (31%) of the respondents considered killing efficiency of the product as the most important consideration in choosing insecticides.
Interpretation of Posters
Attraction of posters. In terms of attraction to elements of the posters, the brand names Applaud (26%), Lorsban (32%), Chix (56%) and Nurelle (27%) appeared to be the most attractive element. Meanwhile images in Legend (54%) and Anvil (48%) grabbed the attention of almost all of the respondents.
Comprehension of posters. In terms of comprehension of posters, more than three-fifths of the respondents understood Applaud (61%), Lorsban (69%), Legend (63%), Chix (68%) and Nurelle (61%). Somehow, more than half (51%) understood the message of the Anvil poster.
Acceptability of posters. Among the six pesticide posters, Chix got the highest proportion of respondents who found something offensive in the poster. This was followed by Nurelle (12%), Anvil (11%), Lorsban (10%), Legend (9%) and Applaud (6%).
In this study, it was observed that most of the respondents were literate yet education was not significantly related to their comprehension scores. This may be because of other factors influencing comprehension such as the small text size which was not so legible to older respondents. Also, some of the designs in the posters were complicated and not realistic. The other texts used in the posters were technical and confusing.
The correlation results showed that respondents’ attraction was influenced by farming experience which suggests that farmers with more farming experience tended to be able to relate and be attracted to pesticide posters.
Suggestions for Further Research
A future study evaluating pesticide posters should be done to explore other possible reasons why some farmers were unable to grasp the importance of poster messages. A content analysis of popular pesticide posters can be undertaken to examine the selling points and emotional appeals used and interviews with farmers can be conducted to determine if the appeals used resonate with the intended audience. Results of this study can also help IPM and green agriculture advocates in countering excessive pesticide use.
In development communication studies that include pest management practice as one of the independent variables, the number of pesticide applications, disaggregated by type of pesticide, should be included since this is the more reliable measure of pest management practice.
The Outstanding Thesis Award of Phi Delta, the honor society of science, aims to give due recognition to creative and original students’ theses. Criteria are originality and creativity of the study, appropriateness of methods, significance of findings, written report, and oral presentation.