The quality of labour force is very important for agricultural productivity and attainment of food self sufficiency in Tanzania. This study was carried out to determine the nutritional status of rural agricultural workers in two selected villages in Tanzania, with the aim of assessing the quality of agricultural labour force. Adult household members from 117 randomly selected households in the two areas participated in the study. Anthropometric, biochemical methods and clinical examination were used to assess the nutritional status of household members. A structured questionnaire was used to collect socio-economic-demographic information. The prevalence of underweight was 47% and 22% among males and females, respectively. The prevalence of anaemia was higher (60%) among males than among females (54%). About 66% of males and 60% of females had iodine deficiency; malaria parasites were present in 71% of adults’ blood smears. Worm infestation and bilharzias were also observed to be afflicting quite a number of people in the surveyed villages. The quality of labour force in the surveyed areas is sub-optimal and this has implications for work capacity, productivity and economic growth. Strikingly, the prevalence of under nutrition was much higher among males than in females. Development of area specific nutrition and health interventions to improve quality of labour force is recommended.
Key words: Human capital, productivity, health, nutritional status, rural, quality, Tanzania.
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