Herbicides Eliminated Inhumane Drudgery of Weeding Rice

For centuries, rice fields in Japan were weeded by millions of people who spent their summers in the hot, humid, muddy fields working in a stooped position that could cause permanent back pain and damage. Herbicides freed people from this drudgery…

“For a long time before 1949, all weeding in rice fields had to be done by man-power. It was so severe and cruel labor for farmers. Modernized weeding, that is with the use of herbicides, has saved them from these physical and mental pains.”

“Herbicide has brought a great benefit to rice cultivation… in liberation from the inhumane physical and mental pains of farmers during serious weeding labor in hot, humid and muddy paddy fields. …for the ‘perfect’ hand weeding we need 506 hours/hectare, which can be calculated as the work of 1.89 million people every day for 60 days in summer all over Japan. It is not practical in the present status in this country.”

Author: Shooichi Matsunaka
Affiliation: Former President of the International Weed Science Society
Title: Historical review of rice herbicides in Japan
Publication: Weed Biology and Management. 2001. 1:10-14.

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