Migrant Workers in Agriculture: A View from Thailand

Type Journal Article - Journal of Agromedicine
Title Migrant Workers in Agriculture: A View from Thailand
Volume 21
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 106-112
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1059924X.2015.1043169
There has been a dramatic increase in the global movement of workers during the last few decades. As Thailand has developed rapidly over the past 20 years, it has attracted laborers (both authorized and unauthorized) from the neighboring countries of Myanmar, People’s Democratic Republic of Lao (Lao PDR), and Cambodia. Given that agriculture has been Thailand’s most important industry, its continued growth has been dependent on migrant workers. Both crop agriculture and animal-production agriculture have employed migrant labor. Migrants have been hired to plant, weed, fertilize, spray pesticides, and harvest crops such as rice, corn, sugar cane, and cassava. They have worked at rubber and coffee plantations, as well as in the production of ornamental crops. Also, migrants have labored on pig, beef, and duck farms. There have been numerous documented health problems among migrant workers, including acute diarrhea, malaria, and fever of unknown causes. Occupational illness and injury have been a significant concern, and there has been limited health and safety training. This article reviewed the demographic changes in Thailand, studied the agricultural crops and animal production that are dependent on migrant labor, discussed the health status and safety challenges pertaining to migrant workers in agriculture, and described several recommendations. Among the recommendations, the conclusions of this study have suggested that addressing the cost for health care and solutions to health care access for migrant labor are needed.

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