Tuesday, 26 March 2013

IRRI India celebrates International Women’s Day with further activities in the field

Carrying the International Women's Day celebrations through March, IRRI India organized training and demonstration program for women farmers in Tamil Nadu. Around 100 women farmers from Azhivaikkal, Thanjavur district participated in an on-site demonstration of farm machinery and conversation agriculture technology.

Krishna Veni and Seehtalakshmi are two farmwomen of Alivaikkal village. They can now drive a tractor with multi-crop seed cum fertilizer drill and sow seeds in the zero-till and reduced-till fields. The two women farmers also demonstrated to their neighbours how to transplant paddy seedlings using a mechanical transplanter. The initial training was given by R. Ganeshmoorthy of the Tamil Nadu CSISA hub and the event will be followed up by further training in use and maintenance.

Earlier R. Ganeshmoorthy facilitated the training and spoke to the farm women on conservation agriculture technology like reduce-till direct-seeded Rice, zero-till direct-seeded rice, unpuddled mechanical transplanting and zero-till mechanical transplanting. Many of the women farmers also took the floor to share with each other their experiences of using the machinery and to encourage its use. Videos showing further technology like laser-levelling were also shown.

There was lively interaction between the trainees and the visiting facilitators: Ganeshmoorthy, Shyamala Seelan of Thanjavur Janaseva Bhavan, A. Soundarapandiyan, Assistant Director of Animal Husbandry, Cattle Breeding and Fodder Development Scheme, Govindarajan, Vice-chairman of Alivaikkal Panchayat, Sonya McGuinness, Corporate Services Manager, IRRI India and Poornima Ravi Shankar, Specialist-Knowledge Management Co-ordination (CSISA), IRRI India.

Sonya McGuinness said that IRRI had recognized the role of women farmers in food security and livelihood issues. More than 50 percent of the agricultural operations like transplanting and harvest were carried out by the women. Women’s empowerment and teaching them various technologies would help in increasing agriculture productivity.

Many of the farmers showed interest in learning to drive the tractor and transplanter and are looking at these technologies to yield a best business opportunity and ultimately increase their income level, socio-economic status and real empowerment.

The event was also featured in the Hindu newspaper (see photo on the left).


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