CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF LABOUR IN THE FRUIT CULTURE IN BELGIUM
The dwarf fruit culture implies the investment of considerable capital; at the same time it supposes a large labour force. This last requirement involves very high wage costs, which can be reduced by rationalisation, including a more rapid and more effective execution of the different operations of the work.
Being conscious of the importance of labour on the cost of fruit culture the Work group for the study of Norms and Standards of Labour in Agriculture, under the leadership of Professor A.G. Baptist, has undertaken a study in order to determine the quantity of labour contained in the products of the different fruit cultures. Continuous observations, executed during two following years in 16 jobs have determined the work in its entirety and for the different operations in particular, the total labour requirement and its devision into labour of preparation, net labour, displacement, loss of time.
Meanwhile Ir. J. Poppe, researcher of the same Work group, has undertaken a similar study concerning 10 homogeneous orchards in order to determine the total quantity of labour by hectare of plantation. In this study the work time was individually stated for the successive operations of the production process. The results of this research give interesting indications concerning labour organisation and the calculation of the cost price. Besides these studies of total labour, special studies have been undertaken, viz. by application of the timing method.
In 1962 and 1963 timings have been executed by J. Poppe in intensive fruit cultures in order to determine for specific cases the nett time of labour. The winter pruning and the harvest of fruit have been the object of a great number of observations relating to several varieties. The amount of labour has also been stated in relation to cultivations, the summer pruning, the thinning of fruit and the grading of fruit. Whereas in the study of total labour the field of observation is extended to the fruit culture as a whole, in the study by timing it is always applied to a carefully limited task. This way of observation relates to work executed in normal conditions, with a regular rhythm, without any voluntary hindrance. Its importance lies in the value given by the average data of measurement of a particular task. These data constitute a point of reference to compare the efficiency of different labour processes and so seek the most rational organisation of labour in a particular case. In this field studies by