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Agriculture describes ploughing, fallowing, irrigation, cultivation. It is a big source of livelihood and also provide source of raw material like cotton and jute textiles, sugar, tobacco, edible and non-edible oils etc.

Agriculture can be developed through:

  • Increasing land under cultivation.
  • Growing more than one crop in a year.
  • Improving irrigation facilities.
  • Using high yielding variety (HYV) seeds.
  • Using organic and chemical fertilizers

 Common goals of agriculture include:

  • Food safety: to be sure that the food supply is safe.
  • Food security: to be sure there is enough food for everyone.
  • Food quality: to be sure the food is of good quality.

Problem in Agriculture

There are some serious problems that face people trying to grow food today. These include:

  • Erosion: It is naturally occurring process that affects all landform. Removing of top soil faster than the soil forming processes can replace it, due to natural, animal and human activity (over grazing, over cultivation, forest clearing, mechanized farming etc.). Soil erosion results in land fertility and leads to desertification and devastating flooding.
  • Effects of Soil Erosion: 
    • Soil erosion results in the loss of soil fertility and makes the land barren.
    • Soil erosion also leads to desertification (desertification refers to increase of desert areas.
  • Causes of Soil erosion:
    • Removal of vegetation ( Vegetation removal takes place due to removal of forest covers)
    • Water & Wind cause the topsoil to be removed.


  • Prevention and control of Soil erosion:
    • Increase of vegetation
    • Crop Rotation
    • Reforestation
    • Strip Cropping
    • Restoring Soil fertility
    • Control of grazing
    • Terracing
    • Dam building
    • Wind breakers
  • Diseases: Agriculture requires a wide range of tasks to be carried out. This in turn leads to a wide range of subsequent risks to the health of workers.
  • The main health problems and occupational diseases caused by agricultural work:
    • Respiratory diseases:

    Allergic respiratory disease e.g.:

    • Farmer’s lung,
    • Bird breeder’s lung,
    • Grain dust asthma.

    Other respiratory problems e.g.:

    • Fumes (fumigating agents) in greenhouses can even cause asphyxiation,
    • Exposure to grain dust may cause organic dust toxic syndrome,
    • Fungi, chemical residues, soil particles and allergens can all cause respiratory diseases.

    Skin diseases:

    Skin contact with chemicals or prolonged exposure to UV radiation (sun light) can have dermatological effects such as:

    • Irritant and/or allergic contact dermatitis,
    • Sun-induced dermatitis,
    • Burns,
    • Melanoma,
    • Skin cancer, etc.

    Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs):

    • As a result of lifting heavy loads and, poor manual handling techniques.
    • Because of an exposure to vibration while driving agricultural vehicles and using equipment,
    • As a result of awkward postures while harvesting etc.
  • Following hazards can be reasons of health problems:
  • Noise:
    • Exposure to noise from stationary machinery, from mobile machinery as well as from livestock that can lead to hearing loss e.g.
  • Pesticide exposure:
  • It can be associated with a number of health problems including:

    • Acute or chronic carcinogenic, causing cancers of the brain, stomach, pancreas, etc,;
    • Immunology diseases
    • Neuro toxic diseases
    • Reproductive toxic effects
    • Leukaemia, and
    • Lymphomas
  • Biological agents:
  • Exposure can cause in some cases:

    • Tuberculosis
    • Tetanus
    • Anthrax
    • Brucellosis
    • Leptospyrosis
  • Thermal stress:
  • It could be an important cause of health complications, e.g.:

    • For workers in warm climates.
  • Pests: The pests may be insects, plant diseases, fungi, weeds, nematodes, snails, slugs, etc.


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