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Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (IBO), Centre of Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), 6th km Charilaou-Thermi Rd, GR 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology (LIAT), University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK
Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8212;
Received: 10 August 2020 / Revised: 18 September 2020 / Accepted: 1 October 2020 / Published: 5 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green, Closed Loop, Circular Bio-Economy)
COVID-19 and the restrictive measures towards containing the spread of its infections have seriously affected the agricultural workforce and jeopardized food security. The present study aims at assessing the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on agricultural labor and suggesting strategies to mitigate them. To this end, after an introduction to the pandemic background, the negative consequences on agriculture and the existing mitigation policies, risks to the agricultural workers were benchmarked across the United States’ Standard Occupational Classification system. The individual tasks associated with each occupation in agricultural production were evaluated on the basis of potential COVID-19 infection risk. As criteria, the most prevalent virus transmission mechanisms were considered, namely the possibility of touching contaminated surfaces and the close proximity of workers. The higher risk occupations within the sector were identified, which facilitates the allocation of worker protection resources to the occupations where they are most needed. In particular, the results demonstrated that 50% of the agricultural workforce and 54% of the workers’ annual income are at moderate to high risk. As a consequence, a series of control measures need to be adopted so as to enhance the resilience and sustainability of the sector as well as protect farmers including physical distancing, hygiene practices, and personal protection equipment. View Full-Text
Keywords: coronavirus; occupational health and safety; food security; resilience; control measures coronavirus; occupational health and safety; food security; resilience; control measures
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bochtis, D.; Benos, L.; Lampridi, M.; Marinoudi, V.; Pearson, S.; Sørensen, C.G. Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8212.

AMA Style

Bochtis D, Benos L, Lampridi M, Marinoudi V, Pearson S, Sørensen CG. Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sustainability. 2020; 12(19):8212.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bochtis, Dionysis, Lefteris Benos, Maria Lampridi, Vasso Marinoudi, Simon Pearson, and Claus G. Sørensen. 2020. "Agricultural Workforce Crisis in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic" Sustainability 12, no. 19: 8212.

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