Evaluation of long- and short-handled hand hoes for land preparation, developed in a participatory manner among women vegetable farmers in The Gambia

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Peer Reviewed


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NLM Title Abbreviation

Appl Ergon

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Applied Ergonomics

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DOI of Published Version


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OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated land preparation interventions (new short- and long-handled hoes), developed in a participatory manner with women vegetable farmers in West Africa, and identified indicators of long-term adoption of these interventions. METHODS: Subjects (n = 48) engaged in timed trials, alternating between using an intervention tool and their traditional hand hoe to till specified plots of land. Heart rates were measured and subjects reported the relative ergonomic comfort and safeness of the tool after each trial. Follow-up interviews and focus groups were held one, two, and three months after the trials. RESULTS: Compared to the traditional hoe, the new long-handled hoe required 22% less time (p = 0.01), while the new short hoe took 20% more time (p = 0.05) to till the standard plots in this study. Two months after the initial trials, 94% of subjects preferred the new hoes over the traditional hoe. Most subjects (75%) preferred the new short hoe over the new long hoe and thought it was faster (81%), despite measurements to the contrary. CONCLUSIONS: While the new long-handled hoe performed better in the timed trials in this study, most subjects preferred the new short-handled hoe. Subjects should be sensitized on the benefits of the long-handled hoe.

Published Article/Book Citation

Applied Ergonomics, 42:5 (2011) pp.749-756. DOI:10.1016/j.apergo.2010.12.002.

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