eFarms Blog

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The bond between Malaria and Agriculture

INTRODUCTION

Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by the parasite called PLASMODIUM. The disease is most commonly transmitted by an infected female anopheles mosquito. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma or death.

Agriculture is therefore the cultivation of land and breeding of plants and animals to provide food, fiber, medicinal plants and other products to sustain and enhance life.

Statistical report on malaria effects on Agriculture

Agriculture in Nigeria is a branch of the economy in Nigeria, providing employment for about 30% of the population as of today. Malaria reduces Nigeria’s GNP by 1.0% annually ($348 Million) and 25.0% of household income is expanded on malaria control and treatment.

Every year across the globe, humans mark the world malaria day and world mosquito day. For most persons especially in developing world it is certainly another day to fight against this deadly disease malaria. Furthermore to the noteworthy impact on human health, malaria disease exacerbates hunger especially in rural farming areas. Smallholder farming communities often survive off marginal lands in areas where these diseases are endemic. These connections between agriculture and health are major and go both ways; good health enhances agricultural productivity and the intake of nutritious plant-based foods supports good health.

Malaria affected farmers harvest only 40% of their crops compared with the healthy ones who harvest almost 100% of their harvest.

Governments and corporations recognize the relevance of agriculture to maintain food security and generate economic benefits; some of the agricultural practices have unfavouraable health, socio-economic or environmental consequences for the lives of farmers and farming communities.

Agribusiness such as efarms play key roles in the agri-industry through its investment platform used to crowd source funds to fund smallholder farmers. Agribusinesses ties to farms, has placed it to help address malaria in endemic regions. Innovative steps to help fight malaria should include sensitizing the farmers about improved farming methods and getting medical care for malaria. Creating new insecticides in recognition of growing insecticide resistance and offering low cost malaria treatments.

It is a known fact that the economic burden of malaria reduces GDP in some countries by up to 1.3% which makes it easy to understand why the disease is one of the biggest barriers to development and prosperity in the developing world.

Defeating malaria results in healthier families, defeat poverty, ensure a workforce better able to sustain itself, and a brighter future for the entire communities.

FARMING PRACTICES THAT FAVOUR MOSQUITO BREEDING

There are major agricultural practices that favour mosquito breeding on the farms; usually areas with high temperature, high rainfall and poor environmental sanitation favour the breeding of mosquitoes. Some agricultural practices and land use patterns can predispose farmers and their household to malaria infection.

Irrigation practice

Irrigation is an agricultural practice used to water crops in arid and semi-arid regions to equate for low rainfall in such areas. Such practices are carried out in rice, wheat, sugarcane etc. Even more irrigation practice can render areas with both seasonal and year round malaria transmission vulnerable to high malaria.

Deforestation

 

This is a practice that involves clearing of forest to make road construction or for new farmlands purposes. This practice alters the ecosystem by affecting temperature, sunlight, humidity and vegetation which in turn causes changes in mosquitoes breeding behaviour.

Increase in Farming Activities

Varying implemented farming practices alters the ecosystem in terms of rainfall, temperature and humidity. Areas tend to have seasonal malaria transmission; farm workers from lowland malaria-endemic areas migrate to work in the highland areas, bringing malaria with them.

WAYS MALARIA AFFECT AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
  1. Ill-health or the premature death of farmers affected by the malaria parasite leads to decrease in farm output. This limits the supply of quality raw materials that agribusinesses needs to manufacture food products.
  2. Increased expenses on malaria treatments limits households spending on other essential items such as food, shelter and education. To compensate medical bills, patients may give up agricultural assets such as land thus shrinking the agricultural supply chain in a region.
  3. The premature death of skilled farmers from malaria hinders the use of acquired knowledge to develop new agricultural techniques.

    HOW AGRICOMPANIES CAN CURB MALARIA

    The well being of farmers is very crucial to the success of agribusiness. Agribusinesses companies have a huge role to play to attain greater agricultural productivity and health through certain ways such as:Easy access to anti-malaria treatment: the agribusiness should prioritize malaria control and prevention. The need to adopt farming methods that prevent malaria proliferation should be addressed.

    Farmers should be trained on organic cultivation methods. These methods limit the quantity of water needed to support crop growth.

    New tools are needed to help combat the threat of emerging resistance to insecticides and anti-malaria drugs

    Agricompanies should support or sponsor health talks to circulate malaria preventive measures to their workers, farmers and communities at large. It has been revealed that most of Nigeria local farmers lack knowledge about how malaria risk is related to agricultural practice

    Farming is the biggest job on earth and the impact off ill-health on a farm business can be devastating. These farmers can be stricken by this borne-disease during any critical planting operation and stall farm operations.

    The negligence dished out of farmers can not be over emphasized; no more overlooking the concerns of farmers, they sure deserve the best attention they can get from both private and public sectors.

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