In small-scale farming, humans are in especially close contact with animals, increasing the risk of zoonotic diseases being transmitted.
Photo: J. Boethling


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Rural development and food security once again top the list of priorities for German and international development policy. However, interventions in these fields involve numerous potential health hazards. The author describes some of these in the following article.

The promotion of agriculture and fishing has a key role to play in global strategies to combat hunger and poverty. Yet it is often forgotten that this can involve a whole range of specific risks to people’s health and lives. For example, local, regional or global epidemics often occur in places where people and animals live close together or come into close contact. Agricultural irrigation systems readily become sources of infection with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malaria. The use of antibiotics in agriculture and fish farming contributes to the mounting resistance of pathogens to antibiotics used to treat communicable diseases in humans and animals. Simply producing more food can also lead to the further spread of obesity and with this an increase in non-communicable diseases.

Food safety has to be taken into account within agricultural value chains. There are also many ways in which working in farming can endanger health.

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