The present paper investigates pesticide application types adopted by smallholder potato producers in the Department of Boyaca ́ , Colombia. In this region, environmental, health and adverse economic effects due to pesticide mis- or over-use respectively have been observed. Firstly, pesticide application types were identified based on input-effectiveness. Secondly, their determinants of adoption were investigated. Finally suggestions were given to develop intervention options for transition towards a more sustainable pesticide use. Three application types were identified for fungicide and insecticide. The types differed in terms of input (intensity of pesticide application), effect (damage control), frequency of application, average quantity applied per application, chemical class, and productivity. Then, the determinants of different pesticide application types were investigated with a multinomial logistic regression approach and applying the integrative agent centred (IAC) framework. The area of the plot, attendance at training sessions and educational and income levels were among the most relevant determinants. The analysis suggested that better pesticide use could be fostered to reduce pesticide-related risks in the region. Intervention options were outlined, which may help in targeting this issue. They aim not only at educating farmers, but to change their social and institutional context, by involving other agents of the agricultural system (i.e. pesticide producers), facilitating new institutional settings (i.e. cooperatives) and targeting social dynamics (i.e. conformity to social norms).