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1326- SRI and Labouring bodies

Title: System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Labouring Bodies: Exploring Socio-technical Interactions
Author: Sabarmatee, Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group, Wageningen University

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1326- SRI and Labouring bodies

  1. 1. System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Labouring Bodies: Exploring Socio-technical Interactions Sabarmatee Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group, Wageningen University
  2. 2. My puzzle began here During my exploratory visits from January to June of 2011 in around 30 villages, I got to interact with people who were doing rice cultivation before selecting my study villages and formulating my questions and questionnaire. Village typology and discussion on drudgery issue No. of villages 2 villages 7 villages 1 village 20 villages Where discussed on drudgery issue Non-SRI, so no discussion on drudgery issue Could not discuss drudgery issues for different reasons Women of same community do not do any on-field task in rice-fields at all Discussed drudgery issue
  3. 3. Learning at Preliminary Stage • Prior to the current research work, I heard women saying SRI is less strenuous. • During my preliminary visits, mostly women, who worked in SRI fields, reported some - direct effect and - indirect effects of SRI on their bodies
  4. 4. Direct Effects Reported - Reduction in infections in hands and legs withn SRI (more specifically if chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not applied in the SRI fields) - SRI is less strenuous. Reasons given - Do not have to put hands and legs continuously inside muddy water for long. - Reduction in work hours. - Reduction in total amount of work - Men shared  women’s  work - Change in postures - Change in type of work
  5. 5. Indirect Effects Impact Reasons given - Get more time to cook and eat comfortably, - Change in nature of the work - Get more time to rest and hence feel better - Change in total hours of work - More participation of men which relieved women of their workload
  6. 6. Puzzle  continued……………. Same technology, same tasks, same gender: but experiences of young and old are not same !! Chandrabati, below 40, Gunjigaon Tulasi, above 50, Rajnapalli
  7. 7. Even experiences of husband and wife were different Leshu and Chandrabati Sabita and Jambeswar
  8. 8. Realized that: - Impact of SRI on labouring bodies is different, not only for men and women, but also between young and old, which has differential ramifications. However, - Although very important, assessing all the impacts within the present study was not manageable. - This required different research methods (mainly experimental combined with clinical), additional budget and support of expertise from the fields of medicine like dermatology, epidemiology, physiology, etc. This can be considered as future researchable issue.
  9. 9. What I explored within the framework of this study was: “SRI  is  less  strenuous” plus the dynamics of change Main research question: How do SRI and labour mutually shape each other? Sub-research question: What happens to labouring bodies because of introduction of SRI, and in  turn,  how  do  people’s   bodily experiences shape SRI?
  10. 10. Historically, drudgery and pain assessment are, often, not integrated in mainstream studies on technology impact assessment. Exclusion of this has resulted in not developing appropriate mechanisms to address the health issues of a large vulnerable labouring group.
  11. 11. Mutual Shaping of Labour and Technology ‘Agriculture  as  a  performance is part of the wider  performance  of  social  life’                               Paul Richards ‘Social  and  technical  cannot  be  seen  apart’               Bijker and Law ‘Technology  may  have  been  seen  as  socially   shaped, but shaped by men to  the  exclusion  of  women’                                         Wajcman
  12. 12. International  Food  Policy  Research  Institute’s   conceptual framework of the linkages between agriculture and health: Agricultural producers [farmers and workers] through intermediary processes of labour [energy, time, amount, location] while interacting with environment [water, air, soil] become exposed to occupational health risks like water associated vector borne diseases. [Hawkes, Corrinna and Ruel, Marie T, Understanding the Links Between Agriculture and Health, Brief-1, Focus 13, IFPRI, USA, 2006 ]
  13. 13. Materials and Methods Materials: - Purposively selected 3 villages located in 3 districts of Odisha, India, having diverse: agro-ecology, ethnic groups, rice cultivation practices, labour characteristics, and institutional interventions. - General observation of agricultural operations in 2011-12, but focused on randomly-selected 20 sample SRI farming families in each village having 545 rice plots during 2012 .
  14. 14. Materials and Methods Methods: Multiple Parallel Case Study Design, exploratory in nature Tools: Technographic Approach Primary sources: • Focus Group discussions • Participant-observation of tasks and measuring technology-specific materials and distances • Individual informal interviews • Story-telling • RaCoPA – Pain Mapping Tool & Ergonomics Tool • Filming and Ppotography
  15. 15. Social scientists, by and large, face the challenge of selecting recommended scientific methods or using tools for assessment of drudgery and pain that involve use of sophisticated and expensive instruments by skilled persons during the actual work in the rice field.
  16. 16. In this context, it was essential to design and use a participatory and innovative tool to understand the bodily experiences like pain and drudgery A tool was designed called RaCoPA (Rapid Comparative Pain Assessment) taking inspiration from concept of PRA and using body maps and FGD tools
  17. 17. Process of RaCoPA: Some Glimpses
  18. 18. What are the specific activities that men and women (also children) do to produce rice, and which ways of growing rice cause how much pain in which parts of their bodies?
  19. 19. Pointing Pain Pointing out points of pain
  20. 20. Explaining posture and points of pain
  21. 21. RaCoPA Product
  22. 22. Name of the village and address Date Focal Group: Specify gender and age group (may attach a name list with age, years of experience, etc.) Physical Pain Experienced by Women Labourers of  ………Village Activities Conventional Transplanting Method SRI Direct Sowing Method e.g. Manual Weeding Hand, palm, back, elbow, waist, thighs, knees, feet, nails more Hand, palm, back, elbow, waist, thighs, knees, feet – very much less Hand, palm, back, elbow, waist, thighs, knees, feet, nails – more than conv. TP method not used , no pain Shoulders, hand including wrist and palm, chest leg Not used, no pain Mechanical weeding – Mandva weeder
  23. 23. Trade-off between reduction and increase in drudgery Reduction in drudgery Increase in drudgery Women - Uproot fewer seedlings - Transport less seedlings, lighter in weight, due to smaller-size seedlings - Men participated in tasks like weeding - Have to do more numbers of weeding - Use of mechanical weeder - More supervision Men - Work for longer time for land leveling, channel- making , bund dressing - Participated in marking, transplanting and weeding - Smaller-size nursery making - More women participated in nursery raising
  24. 24. Hours spent on different tasks (per acre) Land preparation - Bullock tiller Tractor Power Nursery Rajanapalli Conv 80-90 4-5 6-10 7-8 SRI 90-100 4-5 6-10 2-3 Gunjigaon conv 150-160 4-5 8-12 SRI 160-170 3-4 Kokariguda Conv 70-80 4-5 SRI 70-80 2-3 UprootingTransporting Transpalnting Weeding Harvesting 70-80 6-8 20-30 10-15 130-150 100-150 90-100 75-90 40-50 90-100 25-30 4-5 8-14 4-8 150-160 110-120 40-50 100-120 100-120 20-30 5-10 5-10 3-5 90-100 45-50 70-80 20-25 50-60 40-50
  25. 25. Leveling and channel making – additional tasks for men
  26. 26. • Sensing the drudgery of additional tasks, many men did not support SRI and still do not support SRI. • But women like Laxmi Mohanty or Ahalya Nahak manage to do SRI in spite of opposition from their spouses. • After 2-3 years of efforts as plots became more leveled, drudgery is reduced. • Women also started participating in channel making, bund dressing, etc.
  27. 27. Size of nursery, quantity of seed determine the amount of work SRI nursery Conventional nursery
  28. 28. Often SRI nurseries are closer to main field or inside the main field – so travelling distance is reduced
  29. 29. Seed and Nursery per acre Seeds – Need to handle only 2-3 kgs in SRI instead of 20-40 kgs in conventional method Nursery - Need to managed only 1 decimal area for raised bed in SRI; 10 decimals for a conventional nursery What happens to labouring bodies in this case?
  30. 30. Weight and distance matters a lot Carrying seedlings for conventional plots Carrying Seedlings for SRI plots
  31. 31. What is transported and how much is transported SRI Conventional
  32. 32. Seedling weights vary across methods, so does drudgery Average seedling weight for conventional method • Actual weight of seedlings carried by labourers • Actual weight carried by labourers – women • Actual weight carried by Men and Women in SRI
  33. 33. Same posture in different methods but amount of work differs, as does time SRI Conventional
  34. 34. Transplanting in SRI Although drudgery is reduced due to lesser number of seedlings, planting single, younger seedlings at wider spacing -- elderly women do not like it. Concentration on planting at certain points (in grid) is boring and hence more stressful to them. But younger ones find it less painful and hence they like it. Average time of pushing the hand into the muddy water in conventional method is 40-50 times per minute, and in SRI, just 6-10 times per minute.
  35. 35. Gender-wise work participation in weeding (in number of labourers) No. of weeding Gender 1st weeding Men 1st weeding Women 2nd weeding Men 2nd weeding Women 3rd weeding 3rd weeding Rajnapalli Gunjigaon Kokariguda 22 54 14 158 68 275 - 29 2 26 18 1 Men - 3 - Women - 18 - Men’s  participation  reduced  women’s  drudgery,   and  increased  men’s  drudgery.
  36. 36. Design and weight of weeders has different impacts on bodies, and hence on SRI Cono weeder- heavier more painful - discarded Mandva weeder – lighter, less painful - In use now
  37. 37. Cono weeder was replaced by Mandva weeder model mainly because both men and women experienced more drudgery while using it, besides the fact that it did not work well in some soils.
  38. 38. Weeding by using weeder is fun for them No man above 50 participates in weeding ? No elderly woman too
  39. 39. Due to adaptations, drudgery is reduced in conventional method also – wider spacing, less seedlings to handle SRI is changing conventional practice
  40. 40. Conclusion - Issue of drudgery is a product and process in social and material interactions which may not necessarily show any predictable pattern of outcomes. - Drudgery is less in case of SRI, especially for women, more specifically when men share their tasks. - But reduction in drudgery does not necessarily lead to appreciation of the technology by all age groups. - Drudgery could be a potential contributing factor for acceptance or rejection of a tool like a particular design of weeder or even a technology like SRI.
  41. 41. Bodily experiences are potential contributing factors for skilling and deskilling. Bodily experiences are yet to be recognized from labourers’ perspectives who are actually end-users of a technology like SRI or artifacts like weeders. Extension strategies, tool designing can be better done if bodily experiences are taken into account.