Open Access A multinutrient package of iron, vitamin A, and iodine improved the productivity and earnings of women tea pickers in South India

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Tea-picking is a highly skilled activity that is usually performed by women. This study, conducted on the Balanoor Plantations, India, from 1996 to 1998, was successful in empowering 339 women pickers and their families to take iron (60 mg of elemental iron two times a week) and vitamin A (1,600 IU) once a week, and to purchase subsidized iodized salt (30 ppm) from the plantation ration shop. The average hemoglobin level of the pickers rose significantly (p < .001) from 11.0 g/dl at baseline to 11.9 g/dl at the end of the nine months of intervention. The average amount of tea per picker increased significantly (p < .001) from 22.9 to 25.6 kg. There was a significant decrease in the number of "moderate pickers," who picked between 14 and 25 kg per day, and a significant increase in the number of "good pickers," who picked more than 25 kg per day, and the earnings of the majority of the pickers increased. The management of the estate where the intervention occurred benefited from a decrease in the number of pickers needed during the supplement period from 2,857 to 2,763, with no significant change in the yield per hectare in the two years. The yield per hectare on the control estate was not significantly different from that on the intervention estate, and the average amount of tea picked per worker was the same for the two periods (20.8 and 20.7 kg).


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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