Expert Meet-

 On

Strengthening Climate Justice Initiatives:

Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a Focus on Farmers

 

On 8th to 9th November, 2014

At NIRMA University, Institute of LAW, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

 

 

NCCSD has organized two  National Seminar  on Women farmers. The first was in cooperation with  Navsari Agricultural University at Navsari  on 4th January 2014 . The second was held in cooperation with Junagadh Agricultural University at Junagadh on 4-5-6 February, 2014 on this subject.  This was also in collaboration with Department of Science & Technology – Vigyan Prasar and Government of India and was supported by Planning Commission. The conclusion of seminars was as under. For both the seminar/s there were about 40 technical papers presented and more than 500 women farmers participated.

 

  • Women have been working in farm and livestock – but they have been treated as workers
  • In last decade, particularly after introduction of NAREGA and with increasing urbanization  – man are  working outside and entire farm operation – but more particularly decision related farms and livestock management are taken by women  – they are new farmers
  • However entire farming system is men centric – tools and equipments are designed keeping men in view and are uncomfortable or require greater use of physical energy to operate them by women.
  • The entire communication system in our agriculture extension is man-centric
  • Women spend more time in household and caring of children – cooking takes maximum time. Additional time is now required for farming and  livestock management. Hence there is a need to introduce time saving methods both related to children’s education material and cooking, cleaning operation.   In fact after introduction of NIRDHUM Chule no major breakthrough exists.  All such tools are available with urban household.  There is a need to transfer/ make them available to rural women.

 

Already considerable importance is given to women empowerment by National Governments and International Organizations. However, there is need to focus on needs of women farmers – particularly with view to

a) Identify their needs and abilities

b) Identify already available tools and equipment which suit their needs and can increase efficiency and reduce drudgeries and its easy availability.

c) Conduct action research to  develop tools / adopt tools  and equipments including household  equipments which are suitable to women

d) Develop special communication module

e) Provide capacity building programmes specially designed for their needs.

 

 

 

OVERVIEW –

 

Women play a significant role in agriculture, the world over. About 70% of the agricultural workers, 80% of food producers, and 10% of those who process basic foodstuffs are women and they also undertake 60 to 90% of the rural marketing; thus making up more than two-third of the workforce in agricultural production.

Women make essential contributions to the agricultural and rural economies in all developing countries. Their roles vary considerably between and within regions and are changing rapidly in many parts of the world, where economic and social forces are transforming the agricultural sector. Rural women often manage complex households and pursue multiple livelihood strategies. Their activities typically include producing agricultural crops, tending animals, processing and preparing food, working for wages in agricultural or other rural enterprises, collecting fuel and water, engaging in trade and marketing, caring for family members and maintaining their homes. Many of these activities are not defined as “economically active employment” in national accounts but they are essential to the well-being of rural households.

 

Development frameworks and institutions around the world recognize that agriculture is an engine of growth and poverty reduction in countries where it is the main occupation of the poor. But the agricultural sector in many developing countries is underperforming, in part because women, who represent a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy through their roles as farmers, laborers and entrepreneurs, almost everywhere, face more severe constraints than men in access to productive resources. Efforts by national governments and the international community to achieve their goals for agricultural development, economic growth and food security will be strengthened and accelerated if they build on the contributions that women make and take steps to alleviate these constraints.

 

  1.        I.            Share of total population economically active in agriculture:

The share of women in agricultural labour force is calculated as the total number of women economically active in agriculture divided by the total population economically active in agriculture. Regional averages are weighted by population. The global average is dominated by Asia. Within Asia, the sub-regional averages range from about 35 percent in South Asia to almost 50 percent in East and Southeast Asia. The Asian average is dominated by China, where the female share of the agricultural labour force has increased slightly during the past three decades. The female share in India has remained steady at just over 30 percent. These very large countries mask changes in some smaller countries where the female share of the agricultural labour force appears to have increased dramatically, now exceeding 50 percent in Bangladesh. Other Asian countries such as Malaysia have seen declining female labour shares in agriculture. (Source of information: )

  1.     II.            The labour burden of rural women exceeds that of men, and includes a higher proportion of unpaid household responsibilities related to preparing food and collecting fuel and water.
  2.  III.            Women’s participation in rural labour markets show much heterogeneity at the regional level, but women are over represented in unpaid, seasonal and part-time work, and the available evidence suggests that women are often paid less than men, for the same work.

 

  1.  IV.            Women’s contribution to agricultural production

As seen above, women play a significant role in the agricultural labour force and in agricultural activities, although to a varying degree. Consequently their contribution to agricultural output is undoubtedly extremely significant, although difficult to quantify with any accuracy. It has often been claimed that women help cultivate / produce 60-80 percent of food. However, assigning contributions to agricultural outputs by gender is problematic because in most agricultural households both men and women are involved in crop production. It can be attempted to allocate output by gender by assuming that specific crops are grown by women and others by men and then aggregating the value of women’s and men’s crops to determine the share grown by women.

  • Increasingly majority of the total rural women work as cultivators, whereas women are working as agriculture laborers in addition to carrying out cattle rearing activities. Almost 100% animal husbandry activities are looking after by women.
  • They are also engaged in forestry, fisheries and other allied activities.
  • They work along with men to plough till the land prior to the monsoon.
  • Most of the women sow seeds and take care of plants / crops.
  • Despite their significant role in farming as stated above, they lack access to technology and credit cover and above all face social problems due to illiteracy and social structures.
  • The Agri tools are design keeping in view physical abilities of man. Hand tools are much more so.

 

It is obvious that there is a considerable scope to improve participation of women in agriculture and other activities. It can be made more fruitful and meaningful if they are provided scientific information and appropriate technological support in carrying out their day to day operations including domestic duties.

 

Women Farmers  in India.

  • Women account for around 48% of the total population of the country.
  • Around 75% of total women normally live in rural areas.
  • Increasingly majority of the total rural women work as cultivators, whereas nearly 45% of women are working as agriculture laborers in addition to carrying out cattle rearing activities. Almost 100% animal husbandry activities are looking after by women.
  • They are also engaged in forestry, fisheries and other allied activities.
  • They work along with men to plough till the land prior to the monsoon.
  • Most of the women sow seeds and take care of plants / crops.
  • Despite their significant role in farming as stated above, they lack access to technology and credit cover and above all face social problems due to illiteracy and social structures. The Agri tools are design keeping in view physical abilities of Man Hand tools are much more so they are too needy may a times.

 

It is obvious that there is a considerable scope to improve participation of women in agriculture and other activities. It can be made more fruitful and meaningful if they are provided scientific information and appropriate technological support in carrying out their day to day operations including domestic duties.

 

The NCCSD accordingly re-emphasizes some of the strategically important thrust areas on which awareness has to be generated on a priority basis. These are

 

  • It is important to sensitize women farmers about Climate Smart Agriculture and what role they need to play.
  • Innovations by communities and women in particular for value addition
  • Routes of access to knowledge and material resources to empower them additionally &
  • Help consolidate their role in house hold food and nutrition security with larger implications for livelihood and sustainable development of the family and the community.

The prime objective is to foster scientific and technological support and inputs to the women farmers so as to enable them to achieve sustainable development of agriculture. We have to therefore

 

  • Equip women to face environmental challenges emerging out of global warming and climate change.
  • Educate and motivate them to go for climate resilient variety of seeds and species by providing them latest technological scientific know how
  • Encourage them to discuss and share ideas and thinking on the aspects stated to create focused awareness within the community and enhance public understanding of climate science and with a special focus on farmer’s needs and value addition.
  • Educate them on accessing and using the benefits of public finance and public delivery system. Climate resilient and sustainable agricultural practices and management of animals / livestock and use of principles of science and simple technology / tools to reduce drudgery and develop and make available.
  • Improved  Agri tools and techniques
  • Communication techniques to reach out to Women with all levels of education.

As a part of conference we are having an Expert meet-On specially issues related to “Women farmers“

Women are increase replacing man as farmers-i.e to take decision of farming related issues .So far they are treated as “Worker” and they do 70% farm work and 100% of livestock   Management. The concern of women farmers are as under.

  • Recognize Women as a Farmer.
  • Women farmer have lack of access to technology and credit cover.
  • Farm tools and equipment are not convenient to them. They are produced to meet requirement of men.
  • Including of Women farmer’s name in land record.
  • Lack of Extension approach for women farmers.

 

 

DR KIRIT N SHELAT, I.A.S (RETD)