India: Women, more than 50,000 marginal small farmers, play crucial roles in nation's agriculture Print E-mail
 Sunday July 2 2006

Women play important role in agriculture

S. Harpal Singh

They are most active in cotton cultivation

In 2001 census, 30,946 marginal women farmers operated on 14,768 hectares Women to be special focus during Polam Badi programme, starting July 15.

IN THE FOREFRONT: Two tribal women farmers involved in sowing operations near Ichoda village in Adilabad district

ADILABAD: Monsoon provides an opportunity for the uninitiated to know about the role played by women in the gamut of agriculture, especially in backward areas like Adilabad district. Starting from grading the seeds at the beginning of every crop season, it is the women who handle most of the tasks related with agriculture.

"Seed treatment, sowing, sprinkling fertiliser, harvesting, picking and winnowing of crops are essentially the work of a woman," pointed out Adilabad Agriculture Officer C. Narsingu.

Role of women
The role of women in agriculture is more pronounced among the small and marginal farmers, which includes women as holders of lands. In February 2002, a French researcher Carine Pionetti had conducted studies on the subject in Adilabad and found that women belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes had a prominent role in farming here either working as agricultural labourers or tilling their own lands. The women were most active in cotton cultivation followed by pulses and food crops like jowar and paddy. In the Godavari belt, however, women played an important role in paddy cultivation, as found by the researcher.

Marginal women farmers
According to 2001 census, there were 30,946 marginal women farmers who operated on 14,768 hectares and 15,829 small women farmers who operated on 22,731 hectares in Adilabad district. Women marginal landholders under SC category was 5,737 and 1,860 are small farmers. Under ST category, the number of marginal women farmers was 4,269 while 3,327 are small farmers.

"Because of their importance in agricultural operations, women will be the subject of special focus during the Polam Badi programme starting July 15. They will be trained in agricultural practices like vermicompost, integrated nutrient management, Srivaripaddy cultivation and seed village concept," said Mr. Narsingu.