Scaling up the System of Rice Intensification in India

See the original article in Farming Matters here

Authors: BISWANATH SINHA & TUSHAR DASH

It is said that ‘rice is grown on women’s backs’. Globally, women provide between 50 and 90 percent of the labour in rice fields. They perform backbreaking tasks like seedling removal, transplanting and weeding in bent posture and under wet conditions for more than 1000-1500 hours per hectare. In addition, they are exposed to chemicals. Women working in flooded fields for long hours come into contact with various disease causing vectors exposing them to multiple health risks like intestinal to skin diseases and female urinary and genital ailments. This affects their ability to work and earn, and furthermore, it drains out their money on health care, sometimes making them indebted.

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Women extension worker to promote SRI

Ms. Kala Bista (wearing black jacket with camera and bag) is working for a micro-finance institute (Jiwan Bikash Samaj) of Nepal. Last year she took a 5 days intensive SRI training and one day field visit. It encouraged her to introduce SRI method in her working village. She start to disseminate SRI information and its benefits among intended farmers. At initial stage, some male farmers took interest but face obstacle and negative responses from most of the female farmers. In spite of strong negative reaction she started SRI method in that village. When SRI fields became attractive, slowly female farmers turned positive towards Kala Bista and SRI. At the end, when SRI rice crops mature and gave double yield with similar fertilizer and production cost most of the farmers thankful towards the dedicated agriculture extension worker. This year, SRI areas become double and all male and female farmers involve equally.