Research Proposal on Agriculture
Agricultural is oldest occupation, perhaps as old as human civilization. Even today, with industrialization and information age, how much food can product is still the mainly issue for each nation. Especially, for the low economic developing nation, agricultural is the major national economy contributor, for example India, Brazil and South Korea.
In estimate 1.3 billion workers work in Agricultural production, which employ nearly half of the world's labor force.
From the estimate of International Labor Office, Agricultural is one of the most hazardous sectors of activity in both developed and developing countries. In each year, at least 170,000 agricultural workers are killed. This show that agriculture is least twice the risk of dying on the job as compare with other set of occupation. Agricultural mortality rates remain high in past decade as compare to other sectors.
Million of the agriculture workers get seriously injured in the workplace by accident with agricultural machinery. Or poison by pesticides and other agricultural-chemical.
Although, Agricultural is most dangerous occupation compare to all other sector occupation. But in most countries only some categories of agricultural workers are covered by national legislation, employment injury benefits or insurance schemes.
This mean, most of the agriculture worker who work with no any form of social protection.
In developing nation, Effective enforcement is very poor due to insufficient of labor inspection, lack of understanding and training on hazards. Furthermore, agricultural workers are not subject to any international standard that comprehensively with personal health and work safety.
Health and safety service in the agriculture sector is limited. Specially, for prevent the disease. The frequent use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that poses a threat to agricultural worker's health. Consequence, larger number people get disease or long-term illness in agricultural worker.
Occupational hazards and health issues can arise at any phase of agricultural production such as: Sowing, Harvest, Packing, storage and transportation
At the follow, I would descript those problems in detail.
Definition of Agriculture:
"Agriculture was mean to all form of activities connect growing, harvesting, and primary processing of all types of crops, with breeding, raising, and caring for animals, and with tending gardens and nurseries." (This definition adopted from the bookwork and safety in developing country)
Definition of Occupation health
"The promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupation; the prevention among workers of departures from health caused by their working condition; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factor adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of worker in an occupational environment adapted to this physiological and psychological equipment" (the definition direct copy from the first joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health.)
Occupational Health Services
Occupational health services focus on work and the workplace environment of the worker. The services are aimed to prevent any adverse effects of work and the workplace environment, mental and social well being of the worker. The service also concerned with worker health, such as to determine and prevention of diseases or hazards in the working environment that would impair the working capacity of workers.
Agricultural workers in developing nation
In most developing nation agricultural is major economic activity. Larger number of labor force is employ in large farm, or tradition farm working with small pieces of land.
The agricultural worker could be classified into a number of categories. As:
- Rural landless worker who usually displaced from overpopulated areas, they work on other people's land for small wages.
- Small farm owner who produce food primarily for their family needs, with little surplus for sale.
- Transitional farmers produce all the food, as they need. They work both crop production and animal husbandry. For example, they are about 85 percent of the working population in Uganda.
- Pastoralist, they move around the countryside with their livestock in search of water and food. They are very poor.
In many developing nation, they are exist large plantations, such as rubber plantation, coffee plantation, sugarcane plantation, coffee and tea. Most of them locate in Asia, Liberia, Latin America and Africa. These are owned by multinational companies or by the government. They cause migrant of worker from other country or within country. The worker may live in the farmer. They work on the plantation is usually both manual and mechanized. A large amount of agricultural chemical would be use for farming by the companies or government behalf. Such as fertilizers and pesticides. Some of them may cause health problem to the worker for long-term expose to the chemical. Here raise two major risk issue of agriculture worker mechanized accident and agricultural chemical expose.
Occupational expose to pesticides in developing nation
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 3 million people get ill each year and 220,000 die due to the effects of pesticides.
In estimate, about 20-25% of pesticides produced are exported from industrialized to developing nations, where the levels of consumption of active ingredients per inhabitant are usually high. For example, In Costa Rica, annual use per inhabitant is about 2 kg; the amounts rise to 22 kg for agricultural workers and 64 kg for banana plantations workers.
According to WHO-UNEP show, in 1985, the breakdown of pesticides used by type, was follow: 46% of herbicides; 31% of insecticides, 18% of fungicides.
In the 1980s, most Asian nations were using following type of pesticides: carbaryl; malathion; parathion-methyl; diazinon; monocrotophos; endosulfan; carbofuran; mancozeb; paraquat; and aluminiu phosphide. The major problem in developing nations is highly use toxic substance in agriculture activities; they use some toxic substance that has been restricted or banned in the developed world.
In the developing nation, the risk of acute pesticide poisoning caused by accidental or intentional overexposure is very high. About 1,000,000 unintentional and 2,000,000 intentional cases have been estimate by the yearly worldwide prevalence of acute pesticide poisonings, the result with approximately 220,000 deaths per each year. The most of these cases occur in developing nations. Besides the great extent of using pesticide in agriculture activities, The other reasons cause this occur as lack of adequate legislation, non-enforcement, poor labeling, lack of hazards training and difficulty to wearing full protective clothing during work in hot climates. Most case of unintentional pesticide poisonings are occupational cases, and occur mainly among plantation workers and farmers.
In 1990, estimated that about 3% of agricultural workers in developing countries experience an episode of symptomatic poisoning every year. And about 7% of agricultural workers who reported that had been poisoned during precious year in Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Most case of pesticide poisoning is caused by overexposure to organophosphorous compounds. In Latin America, 10-30% of workers using organophosphorous pesticides may show in significant inhibition of cholinesterase activity.
Obviously, in the developing world, the pesticides poisoning is the major problem for work and safety of agricultural occupation. Some Strategy that may help such as, restrict the marketing that toxic chemical will not sale into the countries, by toxicological testing. The product of pesticides should pass the test before sale into the market. Of curse, this has to cooperation between countries. Other way likes the development of less toxic molecules, or with the adoption of new safe formulations and the provision of proper techniques for pesticide application. Provide training for using pesticide that can avoid the user unnecessary expose to toxic substance, Safe practice of application, Use protective equipment properly, to have better safety work practice, to recognize early symptoms of overexpose to toxic. And take medical treatment early. Education in the area like safe transport and storage indicate the labels and safety guideline. This is very important to avoid the accident occur during the work process. Provide proper risk management of workplace is significant to promote the safety for the worker. This require co-operation of employee and employer with safety professional. And worker participation to the program is fundamental for improve the exchange information between the risk management professional, employee and employer. In the developing countries, low education is link to lack idea of work and health, especially, for the agriculture factor, traditional farmer is more concern with how much food they can product then how much risk they taken in the work, especially, in the poor rural countries side, such as Africa.
Characteristics of the workforce
In developing countries, both men and women work in agricultural. The economically active age group is between fifteen to sixty-five years. But in developing countries, child and old people still involve in the agricultural activity. In most case old people continue to work as long as they can see and move. According to the ILO estimate, at least 250 million children with ages between 5 and 14 work in developing countries. Almost half these children (120 million) work full time. And 70% of all children work in agricultural activities. For example, In the rural area of most Africa nation, there is not hard to see a five or six year old child work some light work such as weeding, frightening away bird, a nine year old boy control a herd of a hundred.
Child involve in the Agricultural activities would expose to the toxic substance such as pesticide and agricultural chemical, and other hazards. The common injuries from occupation like get wound when use cut tools, eye infection, respiratory disease and Excessive heat when working in agricultural field. In the case, these children cannot get satisfactory health care services.
The solution from ILO's International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour, (IPEC) suggest that to prevent the children labor eliminating the underlying social and economic situations that produce child labor. And other is to prevent the young child into the workforce that would help prevent problem in priority.
Occupational hazards in Agriculture
In the previous part, I have mentioned that pesticides are major hazard in the agricultural. Further more, Agriculture have a lot of hazard exist as work environment poorly for most farmer (in developing countries). And a lot of disease can be link by those hazards. The Mechanical agricultural links to increase the rate of accident take place in agricultural occupation.
According to ILO estimates, in 1997, total about 330,000 fatal works-related accidents occurred in worldwide, and 170,000 involved agricultural workers.
Use of machinery in the Agricultural activities is very common in the developed world, and also rapidly increasing in the developing world. Mechanical productivity can be highly risked to cause accident during work. Such as unshielded machinery, unsafe structures in the workplace and dangerous tools would be the reasons. In the developing, agricultural mechanization is necessary to increase production of agriculture. As a result, a large number of accidents took place in developing countries, even small number worker work with machinery relates to total number of worker in the developing countries.
The solution for machinery hazard would be: ergonomically designed machine, Training and education for worker and maintenance of machines and tools.
Since most agricultural worker expose to a heavy physical workload or ergonomically poor working conditions, lack training in agricultural factor. The accident rate remains very high.
In physical factor, most workers from agricultural have deal with heavy physical workload during daily work. Manual Handling is tradition job for agriculture activities, manual handling injuries is very often in the agriculture worker, such as lifting excessive weight and working wrong position would case back injury. Work-overtime always the cases. Worker over stress by their work, those factors can cause to increase the accident rate.
The skin disease would relate to the handing of hand tools for a long period of time may cause callosities of the hands. Heavy agricultural job would cause cracking of the hands. Some chemical like pesticides that handle on the farm would cause dermatitis. Skin allergy and irritation would cause with insect or touch to certain plant, animal wastes and other agricultural chemical. To wear protective clothing, education and better labeling can prevent most of the skin disease.
In fact, almost all agricultural workers have to work outdoor. they may expose to wide range of living organisms, such as viruses, animal diseases. Some effect like, infection, animal bites, snake bites, sting. Wear protective wear can prevent from most of the effect such as animal bite. But the most serious problems are Infection and infestation from living organism, specially, in the developing countries inadequacy of work environment sanitation is mainly reason for those problems.
In Uganda, in 1987, at least 50 per cent of all morbidity is infestations and infection Account. Most of the infection and infestation are zoonoses, infection and infestations is preventable to the agriculture worker, such as using proper animal-house hygiene, food hygiene, personal protective equipment, hazard training can reduce these agriculture diseases.
Organic dusts as hazard that bring in respiratory diseases. Such as animal wastes, chicken feathers, wood dust and tea dust, can cause Asthma, other like cotton dust and Sisal dust can cause Byssinosis. In Finland, report that farmer have 40-50 per-cent excess mortality from respiratory disease. To wear appropriate respiratory Mask is effectively to reduce those organic dusts disease.
Agriculture is one most hazard occupation compare with all other occupation in both industrialize and developing countries. Agriculture has high level of fatalities, accident and ill health inflicted into the work forces. Agriculture workers have suffering high rate of death, injury and illness. And Work environment is hardly control and management. In the rural area there is often no clear different with living and working condition. So work and safety issue in the Agriculture, we should highly concern. Most hazard and disease in Agriculture sector, can be prevent by providing proper training to worker, and use protect equipment, and worker environment management. But in the most developing countries, have lease financial resource and lack of re-enforcement, and inspection in law. The agriculture worker is lease protected by the law and international health and safety standard. So agriculture occupation health and safety need more support and help by develop union or new international standard to protect the human right of agricultural worker. So in 22 June 2001, The 89th session of the International Labor Conference concluded adoption of a new international Convention and Recommendation on Health and Safety in Agriculture.
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