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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON PERCEIVED IMPLICATIONS OF MANUAL FARMING ON THE HEALTH OF FARMERS IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EKITI STATE
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- 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).