PERCEIVED IMPLICATIONS OF MANUAL FARMING ON THE HEALTH OF FARMERS IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EKITI STATE.
This study was on Perceived implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in the rural areas of Ekiti state. The total population for the study is 200 residents of Ikere, Ekiti State was selected randomly. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up married men, married women, youths and farmers were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
- Background of the study
Everywhere around the world, agricultural production is central to the overall well-being of the populace. This is why the nation’s places a high premium on agriculture and the strive to develop and protect the sector, for sustainable food production, and industrial growth. Agriculture has been the leading provider of employment in Nigeria providing employment for more than 60% of the Nigerian population especially in the sixties and seventies (Asoluka and Okezie, 2011). Despite the high percentage of the labour in agriculture even till this twenty first century, most of the farming activities are carried out manually with local implements. The use of crude implement, makes agriculture production in the rural area drudgery. Implements such as shovel, hoe, Cutlass, are used during different cultural practices. Several health issues arising from farmworker ranges from muscle and eye injuries, dislocation and fractures (Hofmann, Crowe, Postma, Ybarra and Keifer, 2009). A farming operation like plant protection (the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer) which are operated by pressure through nozzles or by centrifugal force, if not carefully operated will result in skin exposure to irritation. The other farm operations done manually which can have an adverse effect on the health of the farmers include; irrigation, weeding, harvesting, threshing, and winnowing. These physical work definitely affects the farmers’ health. The National Centre for Farmworker Health states that “hard physical work and working with heavy machines are promoters of musculoskeletal injuries in the farm work”. (National Centre for Farmworker Health, 2013). Health and agriculture are interdependence; affecting each other. If the rural farmers are not healthy they will not be able to practice agriculture effectively and efficiently. Agriculture supports the health by providing food and nutrition for the people and income that can be spent on health care. Modern-day forms of farming include the use of mechanical ploughing, plastic mulches, and chemical fertilizers and so on which has enabled a substantial increase in production. Most of the farmers in rural Nigeria are peasant farmers that are poor and cannot afford to pay for some of the modern equipment. In rural areas in Nigeria, there is still much to be done, to prevent injuries and improve the health status of those in the rural areas. Rural farmers have an increased prevalence of many acute and chronic health conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, arthritis, skin diseases, stress, body pains, headache, on-the-farm Injury, snake bites, organic dust among others. Most of these health conditions are prevalent because the farmers work manually with little or no mechanization and safety measures. Different methods of carriage involved carrying loads on the head, hip, back, and or the shoulder. (Melvin, 2017).
Statement of the problem
According to the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey carried out in 2005, 35% of all workers are exposed to the risk of carrying or moving heavy loads for at least a quarter of their working time. The highest exposure rates are found amongst skilled agriculture and fishery workers, craft and related trades workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers. Young workers reportedly are the most exposed of all ages (EWCS, 2005). It is therefore important to know the consequences of manual farming on the health of farmers in rural areas of Ekiti state, Nigeria.
Objective of the study
The objectives of the study are;
- To determine the implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in rural area of Ekiti state
- To identify farming practices performed manually by the rural area in Ekiti state
- To determine the attitude of rural farmers towards manual farming
- To ascertain health problems posed by manual farming
- To determine access of farmers to agricultural extension services.
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there are no implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in rural area of Ekiti state.
H1: there are implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in rural area of Ekiti state.
H02: there are no health problems posed by manual farming
H2: there are health problems posed by manual farming
Significance of the study
The study will be very significant to students and farmers. The study will give a clear insight on Perceived implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in the rural areas of Ekiti state. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related study
Scope and limitation of the study
The scope of the study covers Perceived implications of manual farming on the health of farmers in the rural areas of Ekiti state. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Manual farming: Most agricultural activities involve manual material-handling tasks (e.g., lifting, lowering, pulling, pushing and carrying of heavy loads), resulting in musculoskeletal strains, falls, spinal injuries and so on.
Farmer: a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals (such as livestock or fish)
Rural area: A rural area is an open swath of land that has few homes or other buildings, and not very many people. A rural areas population density is very low. Many people live in a city, or urban area. Their homes and businesses are located very close to one another.