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1439 - Gender Issues in Mechancial Weeding with SRI: Insights from Odisha, India

Poster presentation at the 4th International Rice Congress (2014)
Title: Gender Issues in the Introduction of Mechanical Weeding with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Insights from Village Studies in Odisha, India
Presenter: Sabarmatee
Venue: BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand
Dates: October 27-31, 2014

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1439 - Gender Issues in Mechancial Weeding with SRI: Insights from Odisha, India

  1. 1. Gender Issues in the Introduction of Mechanical Weeding with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Insights from Village Studies in Odisha, India (P525) Do gender and labouring bodies matter? 'Rice grows on women's backs' as women contribute 30 to 80% of the labour to grow rice. Women perform two crucial on-field tasks like transplanting and weeding in wet conditions for long hours in bending positions besides non-negotiable household and other responsibilities. Despite crucial contribution of women, discussions on labour in rice-growing have largely bypassed issues like gender and the impact of technologies on labouring bodies. We are drawing attention to these important dimensions taking the case of weeding in SRI. As an agro-ecological innovation, SRI recommends planting of young and single seedling, widely spaced, in non-inundated field condition. Besides aeration and incorporation of weeds in soil, frequent mechanical weeding to control potentially increased weed infestation impacts labouring bodies and leads to diverse gender ramifications. We explored - How introduction of weeders and weeding schedules with SRI practice affect gender-wise work participation and labourer's bodies across geographies? - How bodily experiences shape weeding tools and schedules? How we learnt Three villages were selected for study (in 2011-12 wet season) in costal Ganjam, hilly Kandhamal and mountainous Koraput districts in Odisha, India with diverse social and agro-ecological characteristics, rice-growing practices, and SRI histories. Twenty farm households practicing SRI were randomly selected from Odisha India each village for intensive study (n=60, cultivated rice in 545 plots). Tools like Focus Group Discussions, individual interviews, story-telling, participant observation, Rapid Comparative Pain Assessment, some ergonomic measurements and other work-related measurements were employed for data collection. What we found - Both men and women were found participating in mechanical weeding though manual weeding continued to be women's job as before. 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Figure 1: Percent of men and women engaged in all weedings across villages Men Women Men Women Men Women s e r labo u r o f cen t P e r Gender and village Mechnical Manual n= 645 labourers engaged in weeding Source: Field observation and individual interviews, 2012 SUNDARGARH DEOGARH ANGUL BALASORE MAYURBHANJ KEONJHAR BHADRAK KENDRAPARA DHENKANAL JHARSUGUDA SAMBALPUR BARGARH SONEPUR BOLANGIR NUAPARA KALAHANDI NABARANGPUR MALKANGIRI RAYAGADA BOUDH KANDHAMAL GAJAPATI GANJAM NAYAGARH CUTTACK KHURDHA PURI JAJPUR JAGATSINGHPUR KORAPUT Research Sites Odisha - Degree of participation of men and women in mechanical weeding and pursuit of weeding schedules are dynamic and found to be different in 2011 and 12. Following factors shape gender-wise participation in mechanical weeding. · Environmental dynamics: Weed type and growth, water regime, soil type · Household and social dynamics: Negotiation among household members, customary gender roles in weeding, institutional membership, livelihood strategy of men and women · Extension dynamics: Availability, adequacy, accessibility, ownership and management of weeders, clientele of trainings, clientele of incentives · Engineering dynamics: Design of weeders and ergonomics - Changing gender roles however, could not : · Influence deep-rooted gender-specific wage asymmetries although both do equal work and · Ensure men's participation in manual weeding during transitional period. - Not only users, women's groups emerged as managers of common resources like weeders where they are involved in decision making, training, management of weeders. - Reduction in work time, change in posture and participation of men reduced drudgery of women, but increased men's drudgery. Physical Experiences (Energy Use) of Women Using Mechanical Weeders Variables • Manual handling of materials differ and is less – handling weeder, not grasses in mechanical weeding, no change in manual weeding • Work time per unit of land is less, speed is more (16-25 hrs / ac), (30-50 mtrs x 18-20 cms/ minute) - in SRI at one time (Up to 150 hrs / ac), (1 sq mtr max / minute)- in conv. • Work environment is better and time remaining in that environment is less • Some men participate in weeding • Posture changes with use of weeder (model -specific) Gender-wise Cross-technology Pain Experience of Particulars Gender, Sample size , gender 15 , Women Method of sample selection Random Period of test August 2013 Range of age 18-40 Range of weight 38-72 Range of height 4.8 -5.5 Type of tool Mandva weeder Type of measuring instrument Oxymeter used No. of reading taken (per person at a gap of 3 mnts) 4 Findings Manual weeding Mechanical weeding Range of SpO2 (Oxygen Saturation Level) 93 - 99 92-100 Average SpO2 96 96 Range of Prbpm (Pulse rate per minute ) 75-160 76-184 Average PRbpm 117.5 130 Method of cultivation Labourers Engaged in Weeding Conventional SRI Men Manual No participation- no pain Normally No participation- No pain, Sometimes when participate get pain in back, legs, knees Use of weeder Not used - no pain Back, Shoulders, Hand, Palm New – injury by weeders Women Manual Knee, Thighs, Back Shoulder , Feet, Area under bangles, Area between fingers of hands and legs, Abrasion in skin - Severe Knee, Thighs, Back, Shoulder, Feet, Abrasion in skin - Less (Weeder use reduced amount of work) Use of weeder Not used - no pain Shoulder, Chest, Hands, Legs, Back New – injury by weeders BUT Recommendations could not be followed by all farmers due to various reasons Hence gender-wise bodily (physical) experiences vary 4 - However, Work –rest rhythms, postures, work environment, span of work time differ which have synergetic impact on body than short period energy use expressed in SpO2 and PRbpm . - Introduction of specific models of weeders (like Mandva model that solves the purpose and cause less pain to users) enabled both genders to undertake mechanical weeding, mainly in family farms. DIFFERENT WEEDER MODELS FOUND IN VILLAGES MANDVA WEEDER CONO WEEDER - Bodily experiences play a determining role in use/rejection/acceptance of models of weeders. (Cono model rejected causing more pain to users' bodies, but Mandva model was accepted) To wrap up Gender-wise work participation and bodies are affected differently by agricultural technologies in their social-material context which affect technologies in turn. The study suggests for: - integrating gender and physical issues with interdisciplinary approach in agricultural technology evaluation, - involving men and women in choice, design/ development and application of gender-sensitive technologies, - steering innovative extension and scaling-up strategies, incentive structures for better organisation of labour to use the benefits of technology like SRI. Acknowledgement: We are thankful to Dutch Organisation for Global Development Programme (NWO -WOTRO), Netherlands for financial support for the study (Grant no. W 01.65.328.00, 2010-2014) and all others who supported our effort during the journey. Please visit our team’s work: Oral Presentation:(IRC14-0694, C03-2, Wednesday 14:30, Room GH 203), Oral Presentation: (IRC14-0668 C06-1, Friday 11:10, Room MR 222) Posters: P582/ IRC14-0614, P564/ IRC14-1041 1.Sabarmatee, PhD student, Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; E Mail: sabarmatee@gmail.com C. Shambu Prasad, Professor, Rural Management and Development, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar -751013, Odisha, India; E Mail: shambu@ximb.ac.in

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