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1911- Gender Responsive Smallholder Rice Production Practices and equipment


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Title: Smallholder Rice Production Practice and Equipment: What about the Women?
Presenter: Lucy Fisher
Venue: 2nd Global Sustainable Rice Conference and Exhibition
United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok Thailand
Date: October 2, 2019

Published in: Environment
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1911- Gender Responsive Smallholder Rice Production Practices and equipment

  1. 1. Smallholder Rice Production Practices and Equipment What about the Women? Lucy Fisher, SRI-Rice, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA with additional information from: Sabarmatee, Sambhav, Odisha, India Stephen Leinau, Earth Links, Santa Cruz, California, USA Olivia Vent, Lotus Foods, California and SRI Global, Inc., New York, USA 2nd Global Sustainable Rice Conference and Exhibition October 1-2, 2019 United Nations Conference Centre Bangkok, Thailand
  2. 2. The starting point…  Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices can help farmers both adapt to and mitigate climate change.. while sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes  System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been proven to be effective to help small-scale farmers achieve CSA objectives  While these farmers have many obstacles, there are millions of women engaged in rice farming that face additional challenges  The SRP standards and impacts also address women’s health, labor and inclusion. AND SO…
  3. 3. What is this presentation about? Some examples of (and suggestions for) how we can reduce the physical stress, negative health impacts and drudgery women experience during rice production..
  4. 4. First.. What is the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)?
  5. 5. SRI Principles vs Practices 1. Early and healthy plant establishment 2. Minimize competition between plants 3. Build fertile soils rich in organic matter and soil biota 4. Manage water carefully, avoid flooding & water stress, create aerated soil • High number of tillers and panicles • Good grain filling • Prolific deep root growth • Delayed root senescence Higher yields 1 plant/ hill Wider spacing Young seedlings (8-12 days old) Use manure, compost, crop residues AWD for irrigated rice (mechanical weeder to aerate soil) Slide: E. Styger
  6. 6. Global Adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
  7. 7. What are the Benefits of using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)  Higher CROP YIELDS – 50-100% increase, or more; greater food security  Higher NET INCOME – reducing poverty for farmers and their families  Reduced GHGs – primarily methane – 20-30% net reductions in GWP  Reduced WATER CONSUMPTION – 20-50% less water (in irrigated field)  Lower COSTS OF PRODUCTION - less (or no) agrochemicals, 80-90% less seed, less labor (often)  Fewer or NO AGRICHEMICALS Yield GWP CH4 H2O USED SEED NEEDED INCOME AGRI- CHEMS
  8. 8. ALSO  Greater RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE - more resistance to drought, flooding, storms, pests and diseases  And… Benefits for WOMEN - less and less-stressful field work; less exposure to health hazards; more time for family or other income opportunities
  9. 9. There are 1,616 SRI research items in the database! There are 1,207 journal articles from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas 216 research items from China 203 research items from Indonesia 131 research items from Africa 654 research items from India The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Global Research Network
  10. 10. Now for some GENDER ISSUES…
  11. 11. The “Gender Gap” Women, on average, comprise 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries Due to the lack of extension services directed towards women, they do not get access to or training for equipment
  12. 12. Slide from the AWARE Program at Cornell The “Gender Gap” Why Does it Matter?
  13. 13. Some Gender-based Constraints Related to Agriculture GENERAL CONSTRAINT  Small landholdings  Limited range of finance and credit options  Lack of access to market information  Low productivity  Laws or customs that restrict women’s land ownership  Bank policies that require a married women to obtain her husband’s signature  Social norms that limit women’s networking abilities  Inequitable distribution of household income D Rubin, GREAT Pilot course GENDER-BASED CONSTRAINT
  14. 14. Examples of how SRI practices, equipment, and opportunities can help reduce drudgery and physical injury for women Let’s follow along through the planting cycle…………….
  15. 15. FIELD PREPARATION Men have traditionally done the heavy work, but women in some areas are taking on more of the work
  16. 16. There are companies promoting opportunities for women to use tractors and other large equipment.. Hello Tractor in Nigeria: Hires women tractor drivers that respond to an app to request service providers. Can’t tell whether it’s a man or a woman! Takepart, 8/5/2015 Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), India: Began training women to drive tractors in 2010 partly due to the migration of men looking for work elsewhere. Economic Times, 6/10/2010
  17. 17. NURSERY
  18. 18. Nursery Management Seeds: 3-5 kg. Area: 0.01 acre. Field condition: Mostly dry. Volume of seed and manure handled for 1 acre of main field: Much less seed, just 3-5 kg, and around 50 kg of FYM. Duration for which seedlings are managed in nursery: Not more than 15-20 days. Distance to be covered: Nursery is inside the main field or close to home Seeds: 30-40 kg. Area: 0.1 acre (10x more). Field condition: Mostly flooded for a longer period. Volume of seed and manure handled: Around 10-12 times more than for SRI nursery. Duration for which seedlings are managed in nursery: Around 30 days or more. Distance to be covered: Could be far or could be close. Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI METHODS CONVENTIONAL METHODS
  19. 19. Removal of Seedlings from Nursery Time taken for removal of seedlings in hours/acre: 4-10 hours. Posture: Bending or sitting. Materials handled: Younger, lighter and fewer seedlings; younger seedlings with no need to clean the roots with water; bundling and handling is mostly a matter of scooping with soil instead of pulling up from the nursery. Work environment: Mostly un-flooded, although wet and muddy. ======================================================= Time taken for removal of seedlings in hours/acre: 20-80 hours. Posture: Bending or sitting; involving more repetitive and stressful postures of standing and bending for longer hours. Materials handled: Older, heavier and more seedlings must be pulled up, with more energy and cleaning of roots in water; bundling seedlings requires taking to the bund for draining out of the water before transporting. Work environment: Mostly flooded fields. Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI CONVENTIONAL
  20. 20. Total weight transported per acre: 80-145 kg if younger seedlings are used; up to 200 -250 kg if older seedlings are planted. Weight carried at one time: 5-6 kg (younger seedlings with soil and container), or 13-15 kg (if older seedlings). Time required to transport seedlings needed for an acre: 3-15 hours. Walking distance: As nurseries are often raised inside or near the main field, women make fewer trips and walk less distance. ========================================================= Total weight transported per acre: 400 to 1,200 kg of seedlings. Weight carried at one time: 7-30 kg Time required to transport seedlings needed for an acre: 5-30 hours. Walking distance: More trips to carry more seedlings, and hence more distance. Removal of Seedlings from the Nursery Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI CONVENTIONAL
  22. 22. MARKERS .. to make a square planting pattern Adaptation by women in Thailand
  23. 23. Transplanting Materials handled: Hold 1-2 seedlings to transplant at one time, weighing 150-300 gm. Young seedlings are inserted into the mud at wide spacing at an average rate of 6-10 seedlings per minute. Time needed to transplant seedlings: 70-120 hrs per acre. Materials handled: Hold clumps of 4-6+ older seedlings weighing 1-1.5 kg at one time. Women plunge their hands and wrists deep into the mud at close spacing @ 40-50 seedlings per minute at random. Time needed to transplant seedlings: 90-160 hrs per acre. Field condition: Muddy and flooded. Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI CONVENTIONAL
  24. 24. TRANSPLANTERS ……………
  25. 25. Transplanting and Women  Even without equipment, women can ease the drudgery of transplanting with SRI practices  Women are generally as capable as men in operating riding transplanters  Training and extension can improve women’s access to both transplanting practices AND equipment!
  26. 26. WEEDING
  27. 27. Weeding Time: Weeding with a mechanical weeder takes 16-25 hrs per acre. Farmers normally weed 2-3 times. A one-time supplementary manual weeding can take another 5-9 hours. Extra skill is needed to operate the weeder. Men sometimes take over the weeding task, considering mechanical tasks as ‘men’s work.’ Posture: Standing up straight, with slight bending, is easier to move between lines. Time: One-time manual weeding takes 45-160 hrs to weed 1 acre depending upon weed ecology. More energy is spent on pulling grown up weeds. Posture: Alternately bending over and standing up over and over again puts more stress on the back and legs. Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI CONVENTIONAL
  28. 28. Weeding: More or Less Labor? • In many parts of the world, women are tasked with weeding. • SRI can increase labor if weeding is done by hand, since using less water can increase weed growth. • Weeders reduce time and energy needed for weeding. • However, equipment design and extension needs to be more gender sensitive. • Introducing equipment often changes the entire activity from a women’s to a men’s activity – Women may reduce their labor to zero!!
  29. 29. Weeders – Manual to Motorized
  30. 30. However, most agricultural equipment is designed by men, for men.. And training is generally given by men to other men.
  31. 31. Odisha, India: NGO Sambhav Design and weight of weeders have different impacts on women’s bodies Cono weeder heavier - more painful for women– discarded by program in Odisha Mandava weeder lighter – less painful - In use till now Slide: Sabarmatee
  32. 32. India: Many women also prefer curved handle design to reduce physical stress
  33. 33. SRI-Mas Network, Malaysia: Handle length adjusted for women 38 inches for women 42 inches for men
  34. 34. CAMBODIA: Niek Srer – The Rice Dragon Designed by women for women in 2014 in Oxfam–supported project in Cambodia
  35. 35. Weeder Design Questions from Earth Links Slide: Steve Leinau Suggested modifications to reduce force…. But, will it really reduce physical stress? And under what conditions? Needs some research …
  36. 36. Harvesting Time: Manual harvesting with a simple scythe at 50-120 hours/acre. Plants and panicles are more uniform and thus easier to harvest Yields can be 2x to 3x higher. Materials handled: Bundles can be heavier to carry. But the labor of harvesting a greater yield, with its economic and domestic benefits, is more satisfying than other operations. Time: Manual harvesting with a simple scythe at 50-120 hours/acre. If the plants have fallen over due to weak stalks and are lying on the ground, they are harder to harvest, and the grains rot. (field at left) Slide: Sabarmatee and Olivia Vent SRI CONVENTIONAL
  37. 37. Health-Related Impacts of SRI Reported by Women in Odisha State, India  Fewer infections on hands and legs due to less time spent immersed in muddy water, and especially if chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not applied in SRI fields  Reduction in muscle, bone, and other pains  SRI labor is assessed as less strenuous overall  Reduced hours of working in the fields  Men now share some of women’s work due to the introduction of mechanical weeders  More time available to cook and eat comfortably  More time to rest at home and hence to feel better Slide: Sabarmatee
  38. 38. Women’s Labor - What to Do with Extra Time? Uh oh!!
  39. 39. To sum up.. We provided some suggestions of how we can reduce the physical stress, negative health impacts and drudgery women experience during rice production by Adjusting rice production practices Adapting rice production equipment for women – and make it accessible Providing better extension and training about practices and equipment that can reduce negative impacts on women’s well-being
  40. 40. What can we do to give women more access to equipment and good practices that save labor, reduce physical stress and avoid adverse health impacts? Here are some more ideas……………..
  41. 41.  RESEARCH Arrange for more research on gender-responsive designs by + Working with agricultural companies, NGOs, relevant government units  TRAINING/EXTENSION Encourage more extension to be aimed at women farmers by + Outreach to NGO and Govt. officials, extension units and project staff  AVAILABILITY Make more cost-effective gender-responsive equipment made available in local markets + work with agricultural equipment companies + train blacksmiths to make appropriate designs + outreach to NGOs and Govt projects to incorporate gender-responsive equipment and training in their rice projects  Promote the use of SRP standards …But we also need to works on CHANGING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR
  42. 42. Thanks .. And come visit SRI-Rice online!  SRI-Rice Website:  Facebook (English):  Facebook (Spanish):  Twitter:  SRI Highlights (monthly newsletter):  Join the SRI Research Network:  Join the SRI Equipment Innovators Forum: