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International Journal of Educational

Science and Research (IJESR)

ISSN (P): 2249–6947; ISSN (E): 2249–8052
Vol. 10, Issue 2, Apr 2020, 23–28
© TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.




Research Scholar, Department of Family Resource Management, GBPUAT, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, India
Professor & Associate Dean, Department of Resource Management and Consumer Sciences, PJTSAU,
Hyderabad, Telangana, India

This study was taken up with an objective to highlight the problems encountered by the maize roasting vendors. The
traditional method of roasting is physically demanding job as it is usually carried out in direct heat transfer from open
burner for a longer duration. The process requires continuous fanning of the coal to maintain the right amount of heat
which is a very stressful process. When using the conventional stove, the vendors are exposed to direct heat from the
burning coals and are also in the danger of burns due to continuous fanning or strong winds as the corn roasting
activity is an outdoor activity. Moreover, the efficiency of the conventional stove is low. Despite the risk and problems
associated, people continue to use this as a source of their income. Results showed that the women vendors were more

Original Article
prone to the pain in different body parts caused due to continuous process of roasting. The results also highlighted a
correlation between the age of vendors and frequency of pain in the different body parts. The intensity of pain was
associated with posture adopted while at work and also the requirement of continuous fanning while roasting.

KEYWORDS: Roasting of Maize, Improved Stove & Women Health Hazards

Received: Feb 14, 2020; Accepted: Mar 06, 2020; Published: Mar 31, 2020; Paper Id.: IJESRAPR20203


Processing is an important aspect in our daily consumption of food. Roasting is a method of food processing where
methods and techniques are used to transform raw ingredients into consumable food by using devices like a
barbecue / grill and similar other devices. The barbecue / grill is a device that cooks food by applying heat directly
from below i.e. the food is placed directly on the source of heat. Maize cobs are one such food that is processed in
both a barbecue and a grill. Roasting as applied to maize / corn has started some hundred years ago. Roasting of
maize cobs in hot coals is done either in the home or by small entrepreneurs on the roadside (vendors).
Traditionally, maize was thrown directly into a fire with its husk and removed after the cob was been burnt. But
with modern technology, roasting is done by placing the maize cobs on a glowing charcoal with the maize itself
separated from the charcoal by a metal grill. The maize to be roasted is placed on a glowing charcoal and then
turned occasionally to allow even distribution of heat. To maintain the charcoal from glowing, a hand fan is used to
blow air which support combustion. The faster the hand fan blow the faster the air current, the faster the rate of
combustion and the rate of heat transfer from the charcoal to the maize / corn. This process becomes strenuous as
the operator tires out by the time the maize is completely roasted. The direct contact and exposure of the human
body to direct heat emitted from the charcoal may have some damaging effect on the skin and other organs of the

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24 Deepika Pandey & Dr. D. Ratna Kumari


The samples for the survey comprised of the 30 maize vendors and were divided equally by gender who was engaged in the
profession of selling roasted maize cobs. The survey approach was used to collect information on problems faced by women
maize/corn cob vendors, as well as the problems faced by them while roasting the maize cobs.


3.1 Demographic Profile of Maize Cob Roasting Vendors

The figure 1 shows the distribution of vendors according to age (including both the gender) where maximum number of
vendors (47%) were belonging to the age group of 31-50 years, 30 per cent of the vendors were below 30 years while the
rest 23 per cent were found to be between 51-70 years of age. The mean age of the vendors was 39.2 + 14.5 years
indicating that there is a wide variation between the ages of vendors and also the corn roasting as an occupation is not
limited to gender or age. Majority of the women vendors were middle aged while men vendors were below 30 years.
Women vendors were uneducated, while majority of the men were educated up to primary school. Maize roasting was the
main occupation for majority (80%) of the respondents during season. A similar study done by Adjrah et al. (2013)
reported that 44 per cent of the vendors ranged in the age group 25-39 years old and only 37.78 per cent of the study
respondents were educated up to primary school level, and 22.22 per cent studied up to secondary school. The result shows
that street food vending was the main occupation for more than 68.89 per cent of participants.

Figure 1: Distribution of Vendors according to Age

(including both Genders).

3.2 Work Profile of the Vendors

According to the survey, most of the men vendors had below 11 years of experience whereas female vendors had between
12-21 years of experience. Majority of the vendors spent 3 to 6 hours on the activity and the women vendors received only
part time assistance, i.e. either in the arrangement of workstation or in evening hours or in weekends. The study by Kongtip
et al. (2006) stated that the street vendors should have less working hours and more resting time and a better economic
situation to reduce the respiratory and other health symptoms. During the season, the maximum number of customers
received by either men or women vendors were 100 and minimum was 15 to 20. During the offseason, the number reduced
to 50 maximum and 5 minimum for both men and women vendors. The analysis of correlation between the number of
customers received and the assistance available indicated that the two variables were having moderate positive relationship
between them (0.59), suggesting that those vendors having assistants to help them in their work had more number of

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

Problems of the Maize Vendors – Need for Drudgery Reducing Technologies 25

3.3 Work process Related Information

It was observed that for activities like igniting the coal, roasting the corn and serving the corn, standing or sitting postures
were adopted by more than 50 per cent of the sample whether the work station was readymade or customized. But for
cleaning the work area apart from standing and sitting, bending posture was also observed. Intermittently, when there were
no customers, they sat down on whatever sitting arrangement was being made. For the cleaning activity, 50 per cent of the
respondents used a bending posture because their work station was at the floor level. But for those who used a push cart as
their work station this bending posture was not observed. Majority of the respondents felt that the work of corn roasting as
being difficult.

3.4 Problems Faced during Working

The table 1 below shows the distribution of sample according to the pain felt in different body parts during the roasting
process. All the men vendors felt pain only in the arms and wrists. Out of the male vendors selected for this study, more
than 80 percent also felt pain in the lower back (80 per cent), pain in shoulder, neck, fingers, legs and eyes (93.3 per cent).
On the other hand, 100 per cent of the women vendors felt pain in all the body parts listed (eyes, neck, shoulder, arm,
wrist, fingers, lower back and legs). Women vendors were found to be more prone to the pains in different body parts
caused due to the process of roasting corns possibly because of the double work load of household and also income
generation. Increasing age of majority of respondents could also be a probable reason.

Table 1: Distribution of Vendors According to the Pain in Different Body Parts

(N = 30)
Men (n=15) Women (n=15)
Body Part
Yes No Yes No
1 Irritation in eyes 14 (93.3) 1 (6.7) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
2 Pain in neck 14 (93.3) 1 (6.7) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
3 Pain in shoulder 14 (93.3) 1 (6.7) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
4 Pain in arm 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
5 Pain in wrist 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
6 Pain in fingers 14 (93.3) 1 (6.7) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
7 Pain in lower back 12 (80.0) 3 (20.0) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
8 Pain in legs 14 (93.3) 1 (6.7) 15 (100.0) 0 (0.0)
(Figures in parenthesis denote percentages)
3.4.1 Correlation between Age and Frequency of Pain

The frequency of pain in body parts namely neck (r=0.17), wrist (r=0.08), lower back (r=0.22), fingers (r=0.31) and eyes
(r=0.17) were positively correlated, whereas shoulder (r= -0.21), arm (r= -0.08) and legs (r= -0.05) were negatively
correlated with the age. It indicates that as age increases the frequency of pain in wrist, fingers, neck, lower back and eyes
also increases for the vendors.

The correlation between age of the vendors and intensity of pain felt by them was found to be positive. It indicates
that as the age increases, the intensity of pain in different body parts also increases. During the process of roasting, the
common problem faced by all the vendors was of burns. The figure 2 clearly shows that 60 per cent of the men and 80 per
cent of the women vendors had burn marks on their hands which were caused due to the sparks of coal. All the men and
women vendors (100%) had burn marks on their clothes; small holes were created due to the sparks of flying coal. Nearly
13 per cent women and 20 per cent men vendors had suffered from injury (burn marks) caused by the falling of burning
coal on their legs.

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26 Deepika Pandey & Dr. D. Ratna Kumari

Figure 2: Problems Faced by the Vendors during the Process of

Roasting Maize cobs.

The turning of maize cobs during roasting process brings the fingers near to the hot coal which causes burning
sensation on their fingers. This problem was faced by all the men and women vendors. Nearly 33 per cent of the men and
women vendors suffered from the problem of reddening of the skin since, they worked in front of fire for long hours.
Nearly 73 per cent of the women vendors faced problem in doing the work by standing since their abdominal area was
exposed to the direct heat which caused them burning sensation in internal organs. Similarly 40 percent men vendors
suffered from the problem of heat on abdominal area. All the women vendors faced the problem in controlling the fire
when air blow vigorously. As the process of roasting corn cobs is an outdoor activity the cause of burns were associated
with the poor design of the stove as there were no provision of a wind shield to the burning coals and when there were
strong wind some burning coals tend to fly and hurt the vendors and also the customers sometimes. Continuous and
vigorous fanning to keep the coals burning also adds to this problem. To overcome this problem, some vendors have put up
a temporary shield of an opened oil tin or sheet of wood, but these are not permanent. Wooden sheet also may add to the
causes of fire. To avoid this problem, barriers were placed by them in the direction of direct wind.


There are a number of problems being faced by the road side vendors. Some worth mentioning are listed below.

• There is a direct contact and exposure of the human body to the heat emitted from the charcoal which causes
damaging effect on the skin and some organs in the body.

• The process becomes strenuous as the vendor is tired out with the time before the maize / corn cob is completely

Despite the problems and risks associated with the business, people continue to use this as a source of earning their
living (Pearce and Bankole, 1988). In view of the problems identified, it was felt that there is a need to develop a corn
roasting machine that will be able to roast with higher efficiency and speed, with less stress and accidents.


1. Adjrah, Y., Soncy, K., Anani, K., Blewussi, K., Karou, D.S., Ameyapoh, Y., Desouza, C. and Gbeassor, M. 2013. Socio-
economic profile of street food vendors and microbiological quality of ready-to-eat salads in Lome. International Food
Research Journal. 20(1): 65-70.

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

Problems of the Maize Vendors – Need for Drudgery Reducing Technologies 27

2. Kongtip, P., Thongsuk, W., Yoosook, W. and Chantanakul, S. 2006. Health effects of metropolitan traffic-related air pollutants
on street vendors. Atmospheric Environment. 40(37): 7138-7145.

3. Pearce, T., Kujore, O.A. and Bankole, V.A. 1988. The Experience of Street Food Vendor in Ile Ife, Nigeria. Generating an
Income in the Urban Environment. 58(4): 335 -340.

4. “Indigenous Method to Combat Environmental Health Hazards of Agricultural Workers While Harvesting”, International
Journal of Educational Science and Research (IJESR), Vol. 7, Issue 5, pp. 91-100

5. “Organization and Hazards of Occupational Diseases among Women in Textile Crafts in the City of Ouagadougou”,
International Journal of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Science (IJMPS), Vol. 9, Issue 6, pp. 83–94

6. “Factors Effecting Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke in India with Special Focus on the Role of Knowledge of Health Hazard
of Tobacco”, International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (IJHSS), Vol. 3, Issue 2, pp. 135-142

7. “Involvement of Rural Women in Utilization and Management of Renewable Natural Resources in Kandi Area of Punjab”,
IMPACT: International Journal of Research in Applied, Natural and Social Sciences (IMPACT: IJRANSS), Vol. 4, Issue 12,
pp. 139-148

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