SUSTENANCE OF WOMEN LABOURERS IN AGRICULTURE- A CASE STUDY APPROACH

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Date
2023-12-02
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Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University
Abstract
In India, women have a multi-dimensional role. It is widely known to everybody that the agricultural workers are the most neglected class in the Indian masses. A unique feature of female participation throughout India is that they are workers, labourers, cultivators, producers, traders besides performing all house hold duties which are considered as ‘unproductive’. Women contribute about three-fourth of the labour required in the field. The contribution of female labour is towards agricultural production beside their usual domestic work, always more than the male labour. In cultivation except ploughing, levelling, irrigation all other works are generally shared by both men and women. Women usually get low wages for the work done under the worst conditions put in excessively burdens on hard work. The wages paid to the female agricultural labourers are much below the prescribed rates and wide spread of disparities in wages much disadvantages of them. Even though, most of the contributions made by women in the farm sector are unaccounted and they are not directly paid. Since agriculture also the prime engine of economic growth in developing countries particularly in India the role performed by both men and women must not be neglected. All obstacles to the full participation of women must be removed to ensure that they find themselves on equal terms with men in all facts of life culture social, economic and political. Growth in agriculture needs to be matched with feminization of agriculture for an overall development of rural economy. Appropriate strategy has to be made xiv to extend the benefits to transfer of technology process to the women, which will help in modernization of agriculture. Agricultural labourers were deciding factor of cost of production and adopting, practicing of technologies andplaying crucial role in yield improvement. Agriculture labourer’s livelihood plays crucial role in socio economic development of agriculture. The type of livelihood-practice influences the ecosystem. So analysis of the agricultural labourers livelihood is critical and important phenomena. Many such studies related to the agriculture labourers were conducted but there are limited studies related to livelihood analysis of women agriculture labourers. Hence, the present study on sustenance of women labourers in agriculture-a case study approach was undertaken. Case Study research design was adopted for the study. The study was carried out in three districts of Andhra Pradesh. Three districts were purposively selected based on the highest number of women agricultural labourers viz., Srikakulam, Guntur and Kurnool. Three mandals from each district were selected. From each of the selected mandal two villages were selected by using simple random sampling procedure thus comes to a total of 18 villages. From each of the selected village, ten respondents were selected by using simple random sampling procedure thus coming to a total of 180 respondents. The data was processed using descriptive statistics, chi-square test and Garrett ranking technique. Twenty one independent variables were identified for the study. Majority of the respondents were middle aged, nuclear family type, medium family size, wage earning as major occupation status, medium experience, medium number of trainings underwent, medium level of social status, medium annual income, wage earning major employment status of family members, medium credit orientation, medium savings behavior, medium urban contact, medium perception of skill, medium level of perception of drudgery bearing ability, medium level of decision making ability, medium level of self confidence, medium level of aspiration, medium availability of work, good health status and medium work environment. Nearly two third (52.22%) of the women agricultural labourers were having moderate livelihood security followed by below moderate (27.23%) and above moderate (20.55%) livelihood security.Wheat and rice items of food and nutritional security ranked as first (285) in food and nutritional security followed by pulses (247) which might be due to judicious supply by the public distribution system playing an important role and ranked as first and second. Consumption of vegetables, milk, sugar& jaggery, oil & fat ranked third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.Television (311) and storage bin (229) items of asset security of women agricultural labourers were ranked as first and second by the women agricultural labourers. Electric xv cooker, mixer, motor cycle, sofa and refrigerator were ranked third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. The source of energy for cooking (352) and availability of electricity (338) items of habitat security were ranked first and second respectively by the women agricultural labourers as these are the basic needs to survive perceived by the women agricultural labours. Type of house, availability of kitchen, accessibility of water supply, latrines facility, number of rooms in a dwelling and water purification were ranked third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Existence of health centres (354) and vaccination (346) items of health security ranked as first and second by the women agricultural labourers. Affordability of health services, appearance of diseases, pregnancy care, utilisation of PHC and appearance of infant diseases were ranked as third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Indebtness (332) and savings (285) items of financial security were ranked first and second by the women agricultural labourers. Sending children to the school (358) and availing hostel facilities to children (286) items of educational security were ranked first and second by the women agricultural labourers. Auto (209) and public transport (197) items of transportation security were ranked first and second by the women agricultural labourers. Own vehicle, bullock cart and going by walk were ranked as third, fourth and fifth respectively. Climatic hazards (444) and capacity building (435) were ranked first and second by the women agricultural labourers as they might get such information from television and local leaders. Skill up gradation, agriculture, employment and empowerment were ranked third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively as this information might be available from neighbours. Transplanting/ sowing the nursery seedlings/seeds at correct depth in the main field were found to be the major skill possessed by the women agricultural labourers and ranked first followed by identifying the weeds from the main field, identifying the type of weeds i.e., shallow/ deep rooted, removing weeds in main crop along with roots and removing the stubbles from the main field, ranked second, third, fourth and fifth respectively. Stalking / erecting pendal system pertaining to crops found to be the major skill possessed by the women agricultural labourers and ranked first followed by technique of mixing and application of fertilizers i.e., broadcast/ band placement/ pocket placement in relation to crop, skill on irrigation i.e., amount, type and time of irrigation based on crop, preparation and application of biofertilizers and skill in operating sprayers ranked second, third, fourth and fifth respectively. Technique of grading the produce according to weight/ quality found to be the major skill possessed by the women agricultural labourers and ranked first followed by knowledge on planned harvesting considering xvi ripeness of crops, stacking of produce and efficient in post harvest techniques i.e., winnowing/ threshing were ranked as second, third and fourth fifth respectively. Majority of women agricultural labourers felt that wage majority of women agricultural labourers felt that Wage discrimination as one of the major constraints and it was ranked first among all the constraints. Dual responsibility ranked second followed by involves more drudgery ranked as third and Poor social relationship with other sections of society was ranked as fourth by the women labourers in agriculture. The other constraints include lack of basic facilities at work place, lack of training on skilled work performance, over exploitation of money lenders by charging higher rates of interest, non co-operation among different groups, delayed payment of wages from owners, lack of small scale labour intensive enterprises to save from unemployment during lean crop period and advances in mechanization leading to decreased demand for labour were ranked as fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively by the women agricultural labourers. Wage rates must be increased was the major suggestion given by the women agricultural labourers and ranked first. Followed by establishment of small scale labour intensive enterprises, assured supply of basic living amenities like water, implementation of more government schemes to increase the employment opportunities, coverage of insurance and health programmes for women agricultural labourers, provision of nutritive food through PDS, simple procedure for loans and timely cash payment by owners ranked as second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively by the women agricultural labourers.
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