Decision making and food safety
the case of barley producers in Uruguay
Barley is an important crop in Uruguay, sown mainly through contracts with malting companies, with quality requirements for malting that do not contemplate the maximum residue limits (mrls) of fungicides established by official bodies. Farmers present heterogeneity in organizational and productive aspects, generating different incentives for decision-making. The objective of this work is to know if safety is part of the decision-making of farmers, to understand how these decisions affect the safety of the grain, and to know their awareness of the use of phytosanitary products. 27 farmer surveys were conducted to obtain information on farms, general management, barley management and sensitivity on the use of phytosanitary products. In addition, these results were linked with data on grain fungicide residues obtained in the farms of the respondents. Three groups of farmers were obtained with differences related to production systems, crop management and awareness of the use of phytosanitary products. The samples analysed showed residues of some of the fungicides, but these did not exceed the mrls. In this study, a relationship between the productive decision-making of farmers and the food-safety of the grains could not be determined. Despite being an exploratory study, it was considered a good approximation to the state of food-safety in barley, and can generate innovative processes for the sustainability of production systems. This study is a starting point for future research on food-safe barley grains.
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