An Overview of Gender Issues in Agriculture
9 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2013
Date Written: January 17, 2013
Agriculture occupies a key position in the Indian economy providing a source of livelihood for a majority of the population. Successes in agricultural front with high production levels, especially in food grains have indeed been achieved. But more energy in the form of mineral fertilizers, chemical pesticides and farm machinery are required every year to produce the same quantity of farm products. Historically, women have been the managers of natural resources as they are dependent on them for their livelihood and their family’s needs. The consequences of over exploitation of these resources have rendered them scarce. The rural women collect over 28% of all energy consumed in India in the form of firewood. Most of the 140 million tonnes of firewood burnt annually come from forests. Poverty and unemployment in rural areas have resulted in large-scale migration to urban areas. Women are being forced to take up more drudgerous jobs as a source of livelihood as most of the migrants are absorbed into the construction sector. Women form the largest work force in agricultural sector. Caring for livestock comes naturally to women. The most drudgerous jobs in livestock production like cleaning of the cattle sheds, feeding the cattle, collection of fodder etc. always fall on the woman. Care for young animals and backyard livestock is also largely done by women. In caring for sick young animals women have evolved several ethno veterinary practices. Despite recent agricultural innovations there is no respite for rural women. While agricultural innovations leads to the reallocation of family labour and the assignment to men of complete control over output and income, without associated changes in the allocation of obligations, welfare and nutritional status of the family may actually decline.
Keywords: Gender issues, Natural Resource Management, Livelihood
JEL Classification: O15, Q16, Q15, Q10, Q38, R12
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