Work Practices in Small and Marginal Farm Holdings: An Ergonomics Analysis
Mondal T* and Nag PK
Journal Title:Ergonomics International Journal
This present contribution elucidates the extent of use of tools and machinery, human energy spent, man hours involved and work severity among the rice farmers of the state of Wes Bengal, India. The study covered a single paddy growing season, i.e., monsoon spanning from July to December and objective data were gathered from 400 farmers. The level of mechanization in the studied area, however, remains scattered due to the compulsiveness to the situation dominated by the economic layout of farm holdings, land size, and large-scale deprivation of access to the technology suitable to small holdings. Analysis revealed paddy cultivation in this region is dependent on manual labour, about 100-130 man-days per ha is required in a single paddy growing season. Except for land preparation, most of the tasks are dependent on manual labour and manually operated tools and devices. Sowing, harvesting, and weeding are found to be the most labour intensive task. All the tasks related to rice cropping activities are grouped into five distinct categories to indicate the level of work severity involved in each task. The study provides an insight by comparing total human energy requirement to different farm activities and manpower involvement per unit land. Therefore, the need for design and development of efficient small machinery and manually operated devices exist to reduce drudgery and match requirements of the farm workers in smallholdings.