DISABILITY AND FARMING IN INDIA: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS By Dr. G. Lokanadha Reddy[1] and Dr. R. Vijaya Anuradha[2]


Farming often is listed as one of the most stressful and hazardous occupations, yet most farmers say they wouldn’t trade it for any other job. In several countries the fatal accident rate in agriculture is double the average for all other industries. Women in agriculture, like many other rural workers, have a high incidence of injuries and diseases and are insufficiently reached by health services (ILO, 2000). Exposure to pesticides and other agrochemicals constitutes a major occupational risk which may result in poisoning and death and, in certain cases, work-related cancer, reproductive impairments and permanent disability (Crisp et al., 1998; Hurley et al., 1998).

This paper elaborately deals with the meaning of disability, problems involved in farming like; production risk, marketing risk, financial risk, older equipments and machineries, risk of human resources, lack of health and disability insurance etc. Barriers faced by farmers with disabilities include lack of information on effective worksite accommodation, economic constraints resulting from lack of wage-loss, isolation from needed services, lack of professionals trained on how to help people accommodate their disabilities in an agricultural occupation, lack of financial resources to pay for needed health care services, and negative attitude among professionals in the medical, rehabilitation, and agriculture-related industries about the ability of agricultural workers with disabilities to continue in a high-risk physically demanding occupation were highlighted here. The authors also discusses the frequent hazards in agriculture that leads to multiple fractures, lacerations and traumatic amputations etc. due to machineries such as tractors, trucks and harvesters, and cutting and piercing tools; hazardous chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, livestock & veterinarian products and also some toxic or allergenic agents. The paper also focused on the means of disability management for farmers with disabilities such as; ways of minimizing safety risks, use of good agricultural practices, support of/to the neighbors, health and disability insurance, social security system, supportive services, rehabilitation centers, agriculture extension programmes etc. Finally, the authors concluded with some suggestions in terms of Agriculture and Allied Farming, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Related Activities, Fisheries, Forestry and Natural Resources and; Other Activities suitable for disabled farmers. Agriculture and Allied Farming such as; Betel leaves, Crop cultivation, Harvesting rice, Growing vegetables, Mushroom cultivation, Onion fields, Paddy cultivation, Irrigation etc; Horticulture involving Gardening (flowers, fruits, vegetables), Nurseries, Caring of plants and flowers, Cut flowers, Selling of fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc; Animal Husbandry and Related Activities like Cattle rearing or caring for cows and buffaloes, Duck and chicken rearing for eggs, Pig farming, Poultry farming, Quail raising for eggs, Silk worm raising or Sericulture etc; Fisheries including Aquaculture, Crab farming, Fishing – catfish from river, Otter raising, Mussels farming, Shrimp farming etc; Forestry and Natural Resources like Broom production, Handicraft from palm trees, Hat making from forest and natural products, Weaving etc. and; Other Activities like Basketry, Clothing production, Farm machinery repair, Handicrafts, Incense stick production, Mat weaving, Distribution of finished goods, Flower making, etc.

[1]   Professor and Head, Dept. of Education, School of Education and HRD, Dravidian University, Kuppam – 517 426, A.P. State.

[2]  Post Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Education, School of Education and HRD, Dravidian University, Kuppam – 517 426, A.P. State.

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