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MGS-042: Gender dynamics in Agriculture

MGS-042: Gender dynamics in Agriculture

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MGS-042/AST -01/TMA-1/2022-23

Course Code: MGS-042

Assignment Name: Gender Dynamics in Agriculture

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


1. What knowledge and skills are required for women to perform agriculture activities? Explain. What measures must the government take to improve farm women's skills and knowledge? Explain. (10)

Ans) The knowledge and skills are required for women to perform agriculture activities:

1. Organizational skills

2. Farm Operations Skills

3. Animals and Crops Management Skills

4. Technical/Mechanical Skills

5. Interpersonal/Communication Skills

6. Practical Farming skills

7. Value Addition Knowledge

8. Be a Quick Learner

9. Marketing Skills


The measures the government took to improve farm women's skills and knowledge:


Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme Support to States Extension Programme for Extension Reforms, mainstreaming gender concerns in agriculture is being addressed by ensuring utilization of minimum 30% of resources on programmes and activities for women farmers and women extension functionaries. In order to encourage women farmers’ participation in planning and decision making process, their representation in Farmers’ Advisory Committee at Block, District and State level has been provided under the Scheme’s guidelines.


Under Sub Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP), the training is provided under the components of the Scheme Seed Village Programme and Quality Control Arrangement of Seeds in which women farmers are equally benefitted. State Governments are also advised to allocate adequate funds to women farmers.


Under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) implemented in 28 states, 30% of allocation of fund is being earmark for women farmer. There is also an intervention under NFSM providing cropping system based training to farmers including SC, ST and women farmers to create awareness on improved technology for increasing production and productivity of crops. State governments are implementing the NFSM as per the provisions of the guideline.

Under the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), 30% of budgetary allocation is being  earmarked for women beneficiaries/farmers. Concerned implementing agencies will be responsible for monitoring implementation of these components i.e. allocation of resources for SC/ST/Women beneficiaries and maintenance of database for the same.


Under the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM), 31 drudgery reducing technologies for women in agriculture developed by ICAR are promoted through training, demonstration and financial assistance. Women beneficiaries are also provided 10% additional financial assistance for purchase of various agricultural machines and equipments. Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes conducts training on Agricultural Mechanization for women farmers on regular basis and in the year, 2014-15, 936 women farmers were trained.


Under the National Horticulture Mission, women are organized into Self Help Groups and farm inputs and technological & extension supports are provided to make women self-reliant.


The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country aiming at assessment and demonstration of technologies/products and its dissemination through number of extension programmes including training of farmers to update their knowledge and skill. These training programmes are conducted by KVKs on improved technologies related to agriculture and allied fields and have benefited the farmers in terms of increased crop production and improved farm income.


ICAR- Central Institute for Women in Agriculture focused on participatory action research in different technology based theme areas involving rural women to test suitability of technologies for women and suggest their refinement. The Institute is also working to catalyse and facilitate R & D institutions to bring in farm women perspectives in their programmes. For gender mainstreaming and empowering women in agriculture, various projects are being implemented to address issues related to women in agriculture in the areas of integrated farming system, IPM, drudgery, livestock and fisheries, extension methodologies and gender indices etc. Since women in agriculture is a new area of research, capacity building of all the stakeholders are being organized through sensitization programmes for development functionaries, research scientists/ managers, teachers and KVKs scientists/ SMS who are directly or indirectly associated with farm women empowerment by ICAR-CIWA at different places in the country.


2. Discuss the role of women in dairying (10)

Ans) The following activities women participate as dairying activities.


Feeding green fodder


The fodder is typically harvested by women who then transport it to feed their animals, sometimes after chaffing or in another manner. State-to-state variations exist in this practise. However, practise is required while chaffing the fodders, whether they are green or dried. They can be trained and taught to understand the value of these cows, especially given the rise in the ratio of literate women, so they can maximise the milk production and increase the family's income. In actuality, from the perspective of management, the cow must be viewed as a machine whose operation depends upon sufficient input to give the same proportion of output, which is milk, after satisfying the maintenance requirement.


Producing pure milk


To protect the family from various infectious diseases through milk, the housewife established the practise of boiling milk and consuming it as a family. On the other side, this procedure actually destroys some critical nutrients that man needs. Let's say that cleaning up the milk and reducing the bacterial burden is done. Since the milk can be pasteurised at lower temperatures, the full nutritional value can be provided. Some procedures that can assist produce clean milk include bathing the udder with warm water, washing one's hands before milking, which is typically done by women, cleaning the bucket with detergent, and filtering the milk through muslin fabric.


Manufacturing Indian milk products


The production of several common milk products, which have a strong market from region to region, uses 50% of the total milk. These milk products can be used as the foundation for a range of sweets, have a longer shelf life, and are simple to carry thanks to their reduced bulk.


Khoa making


Khoa manufacturing is an art that farm women must acquire on a scientific basis in order to earn an additional Rs. 15 for every 10 litres of milk by maintaining its standard fat level (20%), moisture content (30–35%), flavour, and structure. The milk output of khoa of standard quality is from 20 to 22 percent. To prevent weight loss and contamination, they must properly seal the polyethene bags in which they pack the goods.


Paneer making


The demand for paneer is growing every day, and it is typically made from milk by confectioners. To increase family income, farm women can quickly learn how to make paneer just as well as khoa. Farm women must receive scientific training in this area as well so they can obtain the necessary smoothness and a 23 percent yield from buffalo milk.


3. Examine the roles of various institutions in dairying among women. (10)

Ans) If the rural population is to have stable work and means of subsistence, agriculture and its related components need a lot of focused attention. Dairy farming and animal husbandry are essential for promoting microbusinesses in rural India. The income from growing cattle and producing milk amounts for 9% of the GDP in emerging countries like India, where agriculture contributes to about one-fourth of its GDP. The production, sourcing, shipping, processing, value addition, and marketing of dairy and other livestock products all require innovation and entrepreneurship in order for this industry to expand holistically. The growth of entrepreneurship in the dairy and cattle industries should, ideally, benefit the dairy producers. The dairy extension system should be the primary focus of human resource development in this sector, and the empowerment process needs to be in place. Numerous institutions have a significant impact on the rise of dairying among women. For instance:


The department of Animal Husbandry, dairying and fisheries is implementing Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS) for generating self-employment opportunities in the dairy sector, covering activities such as enhancement of milk production, procurement, preservation, transportation, processing and marketing of milk by providing back ended capital subsidy for bankable projects. The scheme is being implemented by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).


Objective of the Scheme

  1. To promote setting up of modern dairy farms for production of clean milk.

  2. To encourage heifer calf rearing, thereby conserving good breeding stock.

  3. To bring structural changes in the unorganised sector so that initial processing of milk can be taken up at the village level itself.

  4. To upgrade the quality and traditional technology to handle milk on a commercial scale.

  5. To generate self-employment and provide infrastructure mainly for unorganised sector.


4. Identify gender issues in the fisheries sector and elaborate on them with suitable examples (10)

Ans) In general, gender equality is concerned with how social, political, and economic factors affect the roles and connections between men and women. In many societies, women and men have unequal power relationships, which disadvantages women's capacity to manage resources, access services, seize new opportunities, and cope with ongoing changes that have an impact on their life. Gender policies are therefore required to address these concerns. Not only in India, but also in the majority of developing countries, women play a critical part in the fishing industry. They engage in a variety of activities and contribute greatly. They typically work in pre- and post-harvest operations, in seafood processing facilities, as caregivers of the fisher family, and in activities that support the community's social networks and culture. However, it is important to evaluate how much is paid attention to their interests, wants, and worries. This makes gender studies and mainstreaming gender equality in the fishing industry extremely important.


There is general disparity in the fishing industry, just like there is in other occupations. Development programmes have typically focused on women as fish processors in small-scale fisheries. Men have been involved in resource exploitation and management activities linked to fisheries, but women have not been included in the planning of "mainstream" fisheries operations. The social, cultural, and economic environments in which men and women reside have a significant impact on the diverse and frequently complimentary activities that men and women engage in in the coastal fisheries. Male-female relationships vary significantly and are influenced by factors like economic status, power dynamics, and availability to useful goods and services. Can you name the activities that fishermen and fishermen's women engage in in the fishing industry? Yes. Males predominately catch fish in the majority of areas. While women frequently operate smaller boats and canoes in coastal artisanal fishing villages, men typically crew ocean-going boats used for offshore and deep-sea fishing. The majority of skilled and labor-intensive onshore duties, including building and mending nets, processing and marketing catches, and providing services to the boats, are carried out by women. Women market up to 60% of seafood in many underdeveloped countries, and females perform a large portion of the world's clam-cleaning and shellfish collection work, which is frequently overlooked or not recognised at all.


5. Explain the role of women in Sericulture. (10)

Ans) Sericulture is an agro-based industry, which suits to rural-based farmers, entrepreneurs, and artisans and require of low investment. India has a rich and complex history in silk production and its silk trade dates back to 15th century. Sericulture industry provides employment to approximately 8 million persons in rural and semi-urban areas in India. Of these, a sizeable number of workers belong to the economically weaker sections of society, including women. In reality, it is an occupation by women and for women because women form more than 60% of the workforce and 80% of silk is consumed by them. Women constitute over 60 % of those employed in down-stream activities of sericulture in the country.


Women are mostly favoured because of their industrious nature. They are employed in a mulberry garden or silkworm rearing or in a grainage. Coming to the post cocoon technology, the involvement of the women is greater, commencing from silk reeling, weaving and garment manufacturing industry. Sericulture can generate employment up to 11 persons for every kg of raw silk produced. Out of which more than 6 persons are women. In general, women in the house, while attending to household activities, also look after silkworm rearing activities like leaf chopping, bed cleaning, feeding the silkworms, maintenance of hygiene, picking the ripe worms and placing them on mountages and so on. It is worked out that about 2,575 women work days comprising about 60 percent are generated per annum out of a total of about 4,225 work days in all the activities in sericulture per hectare of irrigated mulberry. Sericulture provides scope for the direct involvement of women in the process of production and decision making for improving their economic conditions and it enables them to gain greater recognition and status in the family and society.


The technology of rearing silkworms, such as the selection of the quality of the leaf and adjustment of the feed dosage during the different cycles of its growth and rest, adjustment of rearing environment, cleaning of rearing beds and rearing room are complicated. Silkworms are more delicate and have to be handled delicately with proper care. Thus, the entire process of silkworm rearing needs expertise, patience and high skill. Women possess the above qualities abundantly and are more suitable. Sericulture thus provides rewarding occupation to women in the rural areas in India. Their participatory role as workers is highly significant; and their rate of participation in silk cocoon production is much higher than that of male counterparts.

6. Read Unit 5 in this Course carefully and document women's occupational hazard and drudgery in agriculture by interviewing a minimum of ten farm women from agriculture or agriculture-related sectors. Suggest measures to reduce drudgery among women. (50)

Ans) Farm women in rural areas are completely occupied and overburdened with the triple responsibility of household, agriculture, and livestock management. Women perform a lot of physically demanding duties in the home and on the farm, which can have serious long-term effects on their health. Additionally, women often have weaker physical vigour and shorter statures than males. Their vital capacity is 11% lower than men's, and their haemoglobin content is about 20% lower. Women have larger body fat percentages and more skin surface area relative to blood flow than men. They are better at withstanding cold than heat. They are therefore more susceptible to occupational health risks than males are.


Physical hazards: Physical workplace risks include noise, vibration, dim lighting, ionising and nonionizing radiation, and microclimates all have detrimental effects on health. One of the most frequent adverse consequences on occupational health, both in industrialised and developing countries, is hearing loss caused by noise. Hearing loss may be transient or permanent after being exposed to loud noise. While a temporary hearing loss typically returns within 16 to 48 hours, irreversible impairment results in a permanent shift in the hearing ability's threshold. Additionally, noise can make farm labourers hypertensive, hyperacid, and palpitative, as well as disrupt their ability to unwind and sleep. Farms may have hand arm vibration syndrome, soreness, tingling, or blanching fingers due to vibration from machineries and vibrating equipment. When the entire body is vibrated, weariness, irritation, headaches, and spinal abnormalities result.


Chemical hazards: In contemporary agricultural settings, about 100,000 distinct chemicals are used, and that number is growing. Depending on the sort of work, exposure varies considerably. The damage that solvent exposure causes to the liver and central nervous system is one of the main effects on health. Pesticide poisoning, skin and respiratory allergies, dermatomes, malignancies, and reproductive issues are among other chemical health risks. Menstrual disruption, such as dysmenorrhea, irregular periods, and spontaneous miscarriages, are more common in women exposed to toluene. When exposed to quantities above the threshold limit value, toxic substances that are corrosive, allergic, and carcinogenic cause local action, inhalation, and ingestion (TLV).


Biological hazards: Women who work in agriculture may be at risk of contracting illnesses and parasites there. Biological dangers and hazards are anticipated to put agricultural labourers and those who deal with animal-based commodities in peril. About 200 biological agents, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, moulds, and organic dusts, are responsible for the chronic illnesses that affect farm workers. The flu, ringworm, tetanus, diphtheria, anthrax, TB, hookworm, and rabies are among them. Farm workers' health may be impacted by encounters with venomous and wild creatures such insects, spiders, scorpions, snakes, and some wild mammals.


Mechanical hazards: Agricultural workers have been found to suffer a variety of work-related musculoskeletal issues. Women are more susceptible to mechanical risks than males since they are physically weaker than men. Neck pain, back pain, tendon and shoulder diseases, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive motion disorder, and cumulative trauma disorder are some of the conditions that affect farm workers, particularly women. Unsafe structures, nonstandard tools and equipment, and unprotected machinery are further workplace hazards in developing nations. In industrialised countries, between 25 and 30 percent of agricultural workers are subjected to a heavy physical effort, and between 50 and 70 percent in poorer nations. They perform tiresome, labor-intensive daily tasks like lifting and carrying large goods. These may result in musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. These issues lead to both temporary and permanent work impairment, which results in financial losses. The protruding and moving elements of the machines are the primary causes of mechanical dangers in industry. Mechanical factors account for about 10% of workplace accidents.


Psychosocial hazards: From a gender perspective, one of the major challenges is work-related worry or stress. Over the past ten years, stress brought on by a heavy workload and lack of time has increased. Negative emotional consequences can also result from repetitive labour, jobs that require constant concentration, incorrect working hours, shift-based work, and seasonal work. Depression, hypertension, burnout syndromes, and sleep difficulties have all been linked to mental stress and overburden. There is epidemiologic proof that stress at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders, including coronary heart disease and hypertension. Concerns about stress at work are developing as a result of factors in the social environment of the workplace such gender distribution, occupational segregation, and workplace inequality. Farmwomen also take part in household chores in addition to field work. These develop as a result of the employee's refusal to fit in with an unfamiliar psychosocial environment. Dissatisfaction, a lack of job content, uncertainty, brittle social ties, and emotional stress are a few psychosocial factors that can harm a worker's physical and mental health.


Ergonomic hazards: The environment, the tool, the workstation, the task, and the organisation are all factors in ergonomics. Its goal is to reduce the number of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that agricultural workers develop at work. Damages, injuries, and disorders affecting muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, or spinal discs are referred to as MSDs. Joint discomfort, back or neck pain, and numbness in the hands, abdomen, forearms, shoulders, knees, and feet are common symptoms of MSDs. Redness or inflammation frequently occur. Risk factors include uncomfortable posture, continuous movement, vigorous activity, stiffness, and static posture.


Drudgery in Agricultural


Drudgery is generally pictured as the physical and mental strain, suffering, monotony, and exhaustion that people experience. However, female employees are more prone to frailty than male employees. As a result, the situation of farm women in this regard is alarming since they toil for extended periods of time without rest, carry out numerous domestic tasks, and continue to be held back by illiteracy, unemployment, and starvation. This exhaustion manifests as mental and bodily sluggishness, sleepiness, feelings of depression, or emotional exhaustion. The physical toil involved in various farming tasks affects almost all farm labourers, but women are more affected than men.


Crop planting, care and management, harvest, threshing, handling, processing, sale, and exchange of produce are all physically demanding tasks performed by farm labourers. In addition to these responsibilities, women also have to take care of their household and have children. As a result, farmwomen work physically demanding jobs. The level of drudgery is significantly higher when planting rice in mud with a bending posture for an extended period of time, sometimes in rains and other times in hot sun, harvesting with a traditional sickle while bowing, manually weeding in the sun, rain, and cold for extended periods, drying agricultural products while standing in hot sun, winnowing in dirt and sun for an extended period of time, and parboiling paddy using antiquated strict procedures with vigorous ph.


In terms of animal husbandry, women handle a variety of tasks, such as milking cows, cutting fodder, collecting and delivering fodder from the fields and chaffing the fodder, cleaning and washing cattle, cleaning cattle sheds, gathering dung, preparing and stockpiling dung cakes, and preparing, storing and selling dairy and poultry products. Additionally, they provide a variety of other vague and diverse household management chores, such as gathering and carrying fuel over long distances and getting water for drinking and cooking from far locations.


Measures to reduce drudgery among women


The numerous farming tools and equipment used in India were originally designed for male labourers before being given to women for farming. However, managing this equipment presents several technical challenges for women, which might have serious consequences for their occupational health and subsequently lower their level of productivity. Women were mostly involved in drudgery-prone jobs like sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, threshing, and winnowing. The traditional instruments used by women labourers require operation in a bent or crouching position, which is tedious and can lead to serious health problems like back discomfort and knee pain, as well as occasionally injuring the women using them.


Additionally, the path to progress and success for women in developing nations like India is hampered by the gender bias approach to technology transfer arrangements. There is a need to identify drudgery-prone jobs and technology that can be used to reduce drudgery and increase productivity, hence advancing women's health and welfare. Simple, inexpensive methods of drudgery relief that are easily adaptable require more thought. According to studies, women typically handle agricultural jobs that require a lot of time and labour, are repetitive, tedious, and are more likely to result in drudgery. All of the tasks must be carried out manually, which causes heavy physical and mental exhaustion as well as other health issues. Their misery is primarily caused by their ignorance of newer technologies, outdated work habits, the inappropriateness of the technology, and mental barriers such natural conservatism and resistance to change. Drudgery reduction programmes that use technological interventions are claimed to result in increased production and better health.


Even though farm women do not express their drudgery and endure it in silence, it is an important question. Projects to reduce drudgery are required to prevent farm women from experiencing health concerns. Due to anthropometric, physiological, and biomechanical differences, designing farm implements and tools with a specific gender (either male or female) in mind is likely to be inaccurate. It is advised to adapt or alter tools and equipment to the dimensions of the concerned user, namely women, in order to facilitate tool use, boost work effectiveness, and decrease the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. In order to lessen the laborious tasks that farm women must perform, researchers at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have developed a number of energy and time-saving gadgets. Twenty manually handled farm tools and implements have been made more user-friendly for women based on ergonomic research. These include the groundnut stripper, groundnut decorticator (sitting and standing type), tubular maize sheller, rotary maize sheller, cotton stalk puller (wheel type), Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE) fertiliser broadcaster, hand ridger, seed treatment drum, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) four row paddy drum seeder,

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