Women 'Agripreneurs' script a new chapter
By Express News Service | Published: 26th August 2013 11:28 AM |
With the mechanised farming activities picking up momentum in the state owing to acute labour shortage, unavailability of skilled labour and steep increase in wages and other expenses, 20 women farmer groups, comprising new entrants into farming, are set to script a new chapter in mechanised rice cultivation in the district by making use of the technological development and a professional training imparted by the Centre for Gender Studies of Kerala Agricultural University in this regard.
With a focus on less manual labour, more profit, improved health and more leisure time, these women groups have begun the rice cultivation on hired kole fields in Velukkara panchayat in Thrissur, using mostly women-friendly agro machineries. The women agripreneurs, who now own 22 small machines such as paddy transplanter, cono-weeder, harvester, sprayer, winnower, thresher and brush cutter, are undertaking different farming operations in the field without any drudgery but with enhanced efficiency and skill.
According to Dr P S Geethakutty, Head, KAU Centre of Gender studies, the Centre has been working with the women farmers, LSGI officials and agricultural officials of Velukkara Panchayat to propagate farm mechanisation in local-levels thereby equip the women to take up women-focused development projects in farms. The women farmers at the panchayat have first set up a society to take up mechanised rice farming. Later, the Society has formulated innovative guidelines including participatory labour budgeting and seasonal machine use calendar for the effective running of their society. Now, these women rice farmer groups, each group consisting of 5 to 6 members, are engaging in mechanised rice farming on hired land area ranging from 60 cents to 3 acres. According to KAU Vice-Chancellor Dr P Rajendran, the successful empowerment of women farmers with women-friendly farm machines would be instigate more such groups.
“The KAU has put in a lot of research and analysis for identifying women- friendly machines. Ideal machines ease their workload and stress, increase their efficiency and profit and thereby sustain them in the rice farming. Such success stories, created by the KAU-LSGI linkage, are worth emulating and highly productive. We hope that more panchayats will come forward to implement such schemes which are beneficial for food grain production as well as empowerment of rural women,” he said.