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Women have greater say agricultural decisions: Study

Farmers in Nagaon

    
Thane : Women have more influence in selection of sowing methods and adotpion of new technologies in the field of agriculture even though men have a greater say in the family, a recent study has revealed.

The study — Gender dimension on farmers’ preferences for direct seeded rice with drum seeder in India — has been conducted by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) taking into account 666 farmers (men and women) from Palghar and Thane districts oh Maharashtra.

With the active role of women in the decision making in crop production, it is therefore important that in order to enhance the adoption of drum seeders (agri equipment to sow pre-germinated seed), existing development programs, new climate-smart technologies, products or practices, women should not be ignored, the report said.

Research scholar Tajuddian Khan stated in the study that the findings also indicate women have different relative valuations for different attributes of drum seeders than men.

“It shows that men value attributes that increase income (increase in yield) or reduce cash costs (reduction in the seed rate), whereas women value reduction in labour requirement,” it added.

Ignoring women may reinforce the existing gender inequalities. On the other hand, given women’s interest in new and better technologies, extension for promotion of DSR-drum seeder is likely to be more successful, it said.

The study also found that women in rural Maharashtra work harder in rice cultivation, but they have a significantly lower say than the men in household decisions related to farming, such as choice of crops, inputs to buy, and the adoption and purchase of new technologies.

“However, although women have less say than the men in their families, they are not completely powerless. In fact, women do have a considerable say in many household decisions. Therefore, existing development programs should not ignore women,” the report said.

IFPRI is also working on a research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in the South-Asian countries to promote climate smart agriculture, Khan said.

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