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Gender and Livelihoods: Women friendly interventions in finger millet cultivation in Nepal

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  • 1. International Food Security Dialogue – 2014 Enhancing Food Production, Gender Equity and Nutritional Security in a Changing World University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada Apr 30 – May 2, 2014
  • 2. Rachana Devkota1, Kamal Khadka1, Hom Gartaula2, Asis Shrestha1, Swikar Karki1 and Pashupati Chaudhary1 Women-friendly interventions in finger millet cultivation in Nepal 1Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), Pokhara, Nepal 2Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba and International Development Studies, Menno Simons College, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Correspondence: PO Box 324, Pokhara, Nepal, Email: rdevkota@libird.org, The is part of the CIFSRF supported project “Revalorizing small millets: Enhancing the food and nutritional security of women and children in rainfed regions of South Asia”
  • 3. Background • Finger millet is 4th important cereal crop grown in Nepal, covering 9% of total cultivated area. • It is a climate-smart crop with the quality of resilience over drought, low soil fertility, and fragile and marginal land. • Finger millet is rich in iron, calcium, zinc, and dietary fiber; good for a healthy food choice. • It is a culturally important crop for some ethnic groups. • Women are important players in agricultural activities (>90% involvement).
  • 4. Research Problem • Men’s increased entry into non-agricultural activities (within and outside the country) has put agricultural sector in the hands of women and elderly. • Women are less prioritized for agricultural technological development. • Neglected technological development, gender biased approach, and marginal millet cultivation go together.
  • 5. Conceptual Framework • Women in agriculture: • Women are the main players in agriculture • Men’s entry into non-agricultural activities increases feminization of agriculture • Labour out-migration: • Movement of an individual or a group of individuals outside of his/her residence in search of employment. • Farm mechanization: • Farm machineries are considered men’s domain, women are less concerned • Women-friendly mechanization improves gender equality • Practical and strategic gender needs
  • 6. Research Sites Map 1: Country map showing the study area in Nepal Kaski Dhading
  • 7. Research Methodology • Action research - RESMISA • Baseline study comprised a survey among randomly selected 357 households from the three village development committees, conducted in 2012. • Focused survey comprised 106 respondents (61 women and 45 men). • Focus group discussions and individual in-depth interviews. • IBM SPSS Statistics and Excel computer programs were used for data analysis.
  • 8. Results • Women in agricultural research • Involvement in variety selection • Involvement in technological intervention • Reducing drudgery and workload of women • Introduction of pedal thresher, fork weeder, line transplanting
  • 9. • Empowerment through women’s involvement in variety selection • Gender differences in varietal preference: • Example: Men did not consider the production of straw, while women did; women preferred non-lodging variety, while men preferred the grain yield • Involvement in technological intervention • Gender differences in the choice of specific machinery or technology according to their involvement in a particular pre- and post-harvest agricultural practices • Example: Women are interested in thresher, men in (mini) tillers
  • 10. • Introduction of pedal thresher Advantages: • Increased participation of male members in threshing, which was rare before • Lesser time required for threshing • Less inert materials in grains Future scope • The initial assumption was to overcome the problem of power-cut and unavailability of electric drum thresher. • There is potential for up scaling pedal thresher, but there is demand for electricity operated thresher, as at the current form it requires two persons Limitations: • Needs at least 2 persons to operate • Pedal still requires some physical effort Reducingdrudgeryandworkloadofwomen
  • 11. Introductionoffork weeder Advantages: • Less effort, time and labour needed for weeding • Easy for weeding • It saves workers from snake and snake bites • Contributes to less back pain and less injury on hands while working Future scope • Though farmers shown their interest to take this technology over, but it needs modification to make it applicable for upright type weeds. Limitations: • Mainly suitable for tailing type weeds, but not upright type • More efficient in other crops such as cauliflower and cabbage • Finger millet have upright type weeds
  • 12. Introductionoflinetransplanting Advantages: • Reduces time and labour for weeding • Easy thinning of finger millet • Easy fertilizer application • Improved plant population of maize Future scope: • Due to less time and labour required, there is potential for up scaling Limitations: • Due to larger spacing, there is high weed infestation
  • 13. Conclusions • Should acknowledge women’s role in agriculture • Gender sensitive farm mechanization policy • Gender-sensitive intervention identifies specific gender needs • helps develop technologies that address the problems specific to men and women. • Participation in technology development increases women’s role in agricultural decision making. • Agricultural decision making can lead to household decision-making that ultimately leads to women’s empowerment
  • 14. Thanks for your kind attention