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Low Wages and Attractiveness of the Sector

Discuss about the Agriculture for Fertilizers and Farm Machinery.

Agriculture is the sector occupies a key position in the world economy. It is a source of livelihood for major section of world population. It is believed that there is growing trends in agricultural in terms of food grains. However, there are multiple areas of concern like requirement of more resources. These resources could be capital or human resources. For example more energy like chemical fertilizers, mineral fertilizers and farm machinery is needed. But this sector still comes under poverty. This has resulted in migration of large workers to urban cities in search of other job opportunities. It is getting difficult to retain the work force in this area. People are switching to construction jobs. These areas look promising. No wonder any child would dream to get involved in agriculture. But what leads to such a disastrous condition of this sectors. There are some key issues or themes which make this sector less attractive. These issues have linear growth. So this is high time to address these issues. There is strong need of agricultural innovations. These innovations include nutrition and welfare status of families working in agriculture, allocation of policies, attractive pay, involvement of private sector and reduction in gender disparity. 

The agricultural sector is the one which decided the growth of many other sectors. But the agricultural sector is not very attractive in terms of wages. The rural wages remain constant for many years. In fact the ways for agricultural sector is constant. This has forced laborers to switch to other professions like carpenter etc. Sometimes laborers migrate from one place to another in search of good pay. The sector also suffers variation in wage rate group of different some other states. The reasons include large amount of availability of unskilled labor. The wage rates are higher in case of shortage of agricultural labor and availability of high value crops. In some countries like India, agriculture sector is the largest employer. The productivity of agriculture also impacts the wages of the sector. This income gap in agricultural sector is either due to differences in productivity and the continuous underestimating agricultural sector (McCullough, 2017). So it is difficult to attract workers in this sector. This directly impacts the quality of life workers are going to live. Generally their working lives are depicted as casual form of labor, no social protection and precarious working condition (Marsden & Arce, 2017). Also it does not guarantee the workers will be paid for the extra hours they are going to put on field. However, government is not able to explain the differences in wage income in this sector. This motivates people to shift to different sector or migrate to different areas where they can earn into other sectors and earn livelihood. Agricultural income in many countries put workers on the lower rung and below minimum level. Even though international trade in this sector is rising roughly but rise in wage growth is uneven. Also, agricultural workers are employed for a reason (when the crops are grown) thus leaving them unemployed for a long time. During the time they are employed they have to work for long hours in dangerous condition. This does not guarantee promising career and hence this sector does not attract. There is no medical allowance and compensation for the workers here. These things are not limited to developing countries but also developed countries as well (Ciutacu & Andrei, 2015). The suggestions include investing in infrastructure in order to generate more employment which boosts labor-intensive growth. 

Unsafe Working Conditions


Another challenge in this sector is generally posting in rural areas so lack of luxury lifestyle. The day of farmer’s or worker’s life is very tough. It includes starting up early morning. Also these workers work on farm, nurseries and many other areas. The workers has diverse and numerous duties. The activities include irrigation, delivering animals, planting crops etc. They are not required to work in fully furnished air conditioned building. Instead they have to work in tough weather. Access to sanitation and drinking water is also difficult on field. There is no 4o hour work week for agricultural workers. Their schedule is variable. The timelines here cannot be extended. There are long working hours and no weekends. Agricultural work is seasonal. Sometimes work schedules are more demanding. There are more chances of emergencies than any other sector. Agricultural workers are more exposed to the risk of pesticides and other chemicals which are hazardous and sprayed on plants or crops (Stiglitz & Rosengard, 2015). Required safety procedures are neither applied in developing nations or in any part of the world. There is chance of injury when workers use high equipment and tools during the work. Working with animals on the field may lead to kicked or bitten. The job skills are directly provided on job. So there is lack of training period in this profession. This sector requires workers who are friendly, educated. The workers must be self-motivating. There is lack of management supervision in this kind of profession. The worker’s life is worse who migrates from one place to another. The work is exhausting and uncertain. Also the GDP of nations is more focused on service and manufacturing sector (Ntambirweki-Karugonjo & Jones, 2015). So this sector is avoided by the government. The workers generally work in the rural areas. These areas generally lack the facilities. The quality and standard of life is low in these areas. Also the future is not promising. There is lack of education and quality of living. Workers are not paid well, not provided with good housing and not getting good treatment. Still there is lack of technologies available in this sector. 


Another area of concern is policy. The policies are not made considering labor or to attract youth labor (Mersha & Heuvel, 2018). Instead, government uses the mode of subsidies to retain the existing farmers. The policies are just reflected as “survival” in agriculture (Bustamante & Smith, 2014). Many farmers across different countries do suicide when they are not able to meet basic requirements. The minimum wages defined by the government for the laborers or workers is very less that they are not able to meet needs of their families. Also many youths are unaware about the policies. Agriculture is considered as something done by the poor people. There are no policies in agricultural sector which actually engage youth in the dialogues related to agriculture. Work force wants quick returns. They are less likely to involve in sector which takes long time. So, sectors like horticulture are still attractive but not agriculture. The workers are not likely to be fulltime or small holder farmer. Instead they would like to work on advanced technologies in order to make this sector boom. There is lack of education and training availability in this sector. The policies lack alignment with agro-dealers, producers, workers who works for this community. Simple mechanization is needed in this sector. Not only in agriculture but in the full value chain, a system is needed (Negi & Anand, 2015). Agriculture- food system should be seen as a whole. The education up to primary level hardly involves agriculture training. So change in perception in this sector is difficult. The government must not only meet the needs of workers but also have stringent policies in overall sector development. Currently, government gives less priority to the investment in agricultural infrastructure. In most of the countries, still sector is in government’s hands or centralized (Spielman & Ahmad, 2017). Private sector is not much involved in this area. The policies are not providing profits to farmers. Thus overall sector looks dull. The resources are not availed properly to channelize the energy, the creativity and the passion of youth. If it is done so, then meeting the needs of nutrition can be done better. Government must be partnered with experts to train and attract employees in this particular area. The workers are neither skilled nor informed i.e. even the knowledge of quality of vegetables people are consuming can significantly attract social interest. Some youth may feel bound to improve the quality standards if they are at least aware of it. It is necessary to attract private and foreign investment in this sector.

Inadequate Policies

One of the other issues in this sector is lack of educational and business opportunities in the agriculture. Let’s consider any other profession like Service Industry. Workers or employees are provided with handful of opportunities. They can switch to other sector easily. There is scope of higher education. The sectors are promising. The workers can train themselves in other skills and can adapt the changing environment. However, agriculture’s involvement in GDP is stagnant or in most parts of the world is reducing. The price of land is very high. So opportunities of establishing startup are less common here. There are issues like uncertain demands, climate change, lack of natural resources and trade policies (Fellmann & Leip, 2018). All these issues make agricultural sector less suitable for businesses. There is less production growth due to these factors. There is lack of integration of food industry and agriculture (Islam, 2016). Workers are unaware of the emerging agricultural technologies. In order to maintain the competitiveness of agricultural sector, Research and Development should be given priority. These R&D opportunities should be in the areas of climate change, crop, and farm and land knowledge (Le Billon & Sommerville, 2017). Workers should be given higher education for skills development in areas like improved technologies for more production, sustainable natural resources’ conservation, farming systems which are diversified, efficient use of resources, vertical integration from production to selling (Davijani & Hashemi, 2016). The generation today strongly needs to possess agricultural post graduates and graduates with analytical, scientific, business skills and communication knowledge. There is lack of institutional and organizational efforts in this regard. The business approach in this sector is also poor. The cost of services and farm inputs are growing. This sector is growing at the slowest pace. Volatile markets, low and variable output have captured the attention of the workers and thus impacting their decision to enter in these areas. This leads to migration of farmers in large scale to cities in search of better job opportunities. There is comparatively less modernization in this sector. Unskilled workers are unable to focus on comparative advantages in the agricultural sector. The logistic system is not efficient here. The input or resources required are not met efficiently. The companies or government need to focus on storage, infrastructure, public distribution system etc. Market and price structure is not build up properly. 

Conclusion

There are many gender issues that vary in context with changes in geography (Andersson Djurfeldt & Nassuna-Musoke, 2018). But the major issues include control and access of resources like land, inputs, services and market. There is issue in participation in various key decision making issues. There are issues at different levels. The programs which are there to improve productivity of women instead increase their workload (Palacios-Lopez & Kilic, 2017). Women work comparatively more hours than men. However, their roles and involvement are not recognized. This leads to less number of women in agricultural sector. Land reforms programs give special rights to male than to females (Kerrissey, 2015). Women workers have not much access to technological inputs like improved fertilizers, seeds and pesticides. Not a significant amount of training, education and extended services are addressed to rural women. Women workers’ roles and needs are mostly ignored in case of devising technology. This leads to labor displacement. There is lack of supervision equitable and full participation of women workers in the agricultural sector. There is deficiency of composite training package for women in training, input, entrepreneurial and managerial support (Fitz-Koch & Hunter, 2018). A complete support package lacks in women farmers. The technical back support is lacking for women in agriculture. An even revolution in agriculture does not improve strata of working women. So there is need of gender friendly revolution in this sector (Nelson & Sisto, 2016). The government should be collaborating with NGO to accelerate the progress in this issue. Equal rights and opportunities should be given to women in the agricultural areas as well. Their security should be prime importance. They should be given decision making role. Their unpaid contribution and work should be noted in the national and international account. Special facilities like day care should be given to take care of their children. They should be acknowledged on the national and international front. The appropriate technologies should be made available to women. The legislation must guarantee equal pay for equal value of work, enhancing working condition, implementing legal standards. The women workers should also be introduces with other fields like agricultural researchers. Women’s contribution in commercial agriculture or subsistence farming must not be ignored. It will only lead to increase in female work force turnover.
The agricultural sector irrespective of developed or underdeveloped is given significantly less importance than it deserves. The youth hardly sees its future building up in these areas. The credit goes to multiple issues like low wages, low standard of policies, tough policies, less opportunities and gender disparity. There should be significant amount of privatization. Private companies may control these attributes and give boom to this sector. The agricultural policies should be stringent and in the interest of nation. World economic forums should come together and build a structure and system which leaves a sustainable environment for every stockholder in agriculture (Herforth & Ahmed, 2015). The workers if trained and educated properly and if could see their career excelling here, then they will invest their resources like time, skill and ideas. This is the time for agriculture to become modern (Dixon & Yang, 2017). However, Agriculture has to travel a long way in order to become the aspired sector. The companies can also in terms of Corporate Social responsibility introduce various mechanisms to bridge the gap between workers and farming. The primary education should also agriculture sector. This leads to change in perception and many people entering in this workforce. Women’s role should also be given importance whether it is paid or unpaid. Agricultural sector is not aloof. So if it is avoided then the whole world should be ready to see its impact. 

Lack of Educational and Business Opportunities

References:

Andersson Djurfeldt, A., Sircar, S., Westholm, L., Ostwald, M., Wetterlind, J., Wiklund, J., ... & Nassuna-Musoke, M. (2018). Gender issues in contemporary research on agriculture for food security-Knowledge gaps and key issues across the AgriFoSe2030 themes.

Bustamante, M., Robledo?Abad, C., Harper, R., Mbow, C., Ravindranat, N. H., Sperling, F., ... & Smith, P. (2014). Co?benefits, trade?offs, barriers and policies for greenhouse gas mitigation in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector. Global Change Biology, 20(10), 3270-3290.

Ciutacu, C., Chivu, L., & Andrei, J. V. (2015). Similarities and dissimilarities between the EU agricultural and rural development model and Romanian agriculture. Challenges and perspectives. Land Use Policy, 44, 169-176.

Davijani, M. H., Banihabib, M. E., Anvar, A. N., & Hashemi, S. R. (2016). Optimization model for the allocation of water resources based on the maximization of employment in the agriculture and industry sectors. Journal of Hydrology, 533, 430-438.

Dixon, R. K., & Yang, M. (2017). Agriculture sector modernization and renewable energy development: perspectives from developing countries. In Geothermal, Wind and Solar Energy Applications in Agriculture and Aquaculture (pp. 77-94). CRC Press.

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Fitz-Koch, S., Nordqvist, M., Carter, S., & Hunter, E. (2018). Entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector: A literature review and future research opportunities. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 42(1), 129-166.

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Islam, N. (Ed.). (2016). The balance between industry and agriculture in economic development. Springer.

Kerrissey, J. (2015). Collective labor rights and income inequality. American Sociological Review, 80(3), 626-653.

Le Billon, P., & Sommerville, M. (2017). Landing capital and assembling ‘investable land’in the extractive and agricultural sectors. Geoforum, 82, 212-224.

Marsden, T. K., & Arce, A. (2017). The social construction of international food: a new research agenda. In The Rural (pp. 87-106). Routledge.

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Mersha, A. N., Turunen, M., & Heuvel, K. (2018). Insights into the Future of Young Professionals in the Irrigation and Drainage Sector: Outcomes from the Discussion on the ICID YP e?Forum. Irrigation and Drainage, 67(1), 136-142.

Negi, S., & Anand, N. (2015). Issues and challenges in the supply chain of fruits & vegetables sector in India: a review. International Journal of Managing Value and Supply Chains, 6(2), 47-62.

Nelson, S., Mustalampi, U., & Sisto, I. (2016). Gender-responsive disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector.

Ntambirweki-Karugonjo, B., & Jones, E. (2015). Transformation of Agriculture for Wealth Creation Involvement of UPDF in NAADS Programme and its Effectiveness.

Palacios-Lopez, A., Christiaensen, L., & Kilic, T. (2017). How much of the labor in African agriculture is provided by women?. Food policy, 67, 52-63.

Spielman, D. J., Malik, S. J., Dorosh, P. A., & Ahmad, N. (2017). Agriculture and the rural economy in Pakistan: Issues, outlooks, and policy priorities: Synopsis (No. 978-0-89629-239-0). International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Stiglitz, J. E., & Rosengard, J. K. (2015). Economics of the Public Sector: Fourth International Student Edition. WW Norton & Company.

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