current position:Home > Interdisciplinary Projects > Small Grants>Intensive Agriculture and the Environmental Health Needs of Agricultural Workers (2013)

Intensive Agriculture and the Environmental Health Needs of Agricultural Workers (2013)

WANG Yiyang, Kunming Medical University (Small Grant 2013)
China’s State Council No.1 document for 2013 emphasized the acceleration of the modernization of Chinese agriculture, focusing on the goals of securing supply, increasing yields and speeding up rural reform. It also emphasized the intensification, specialization and organization of agriculture in order to increase productivity. As part of this transformation of Chinese agricultural production, more and more farmers will cease to be smallholders who farm their own land and become agricultural workers. These new occupations will expose them to environmental health risks different than those stemming from traditional agriculture, including the possibility of more concentrated exposure to pesticides among workers in agriculture and to zoonoses among those working in animal husbandry.
This project focuses on understanding the types of risks that agricultural workers face in different occupations, the way in which policy addresses these, and gaps in provisioning. It will assess the levels and frequency of use of farm chemicals, workers’ awareness of risks and protective measures taken. Information about incidences of pesticide poisoning and other health effects among workers in intensive agriculture will be gathered from workers and local health authorities. For those working in livestock-rearing, information will be gathered about the incidence of zoonoses and of illnesses relating to exposure to concentrated animal waste, as well as the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
The project hopes to increase awareness of this issue and to make suggestions for how health services can better meet the needs of this new occupational group.
The project is lead by Wang Yiyang and Fang Jing at Kunming Medical University. They are collaborating with experts from the Yunnan Agricultural University and the Southwest University of Finance, Politics and Law. The project sites will be Yuanmou County (intensive agriculture) and Luquan County (intensive animal husbandry) in Yunnan Province. The study builds on previous work supported by the EcoHealth Program of the International Development Research Centre in Yuanmou County.

For more information, contact Wang Yiyang at