Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Empowering tribal women farmers: Celebrating Women’s Day with IRRI Director General


Women’s day while being celebrated all across the world depicting the contribution of women to the society, Sabitri Naik and Kainta Biswal had yet another reason to celebrate their joy on Women’s day on 8 March 2014. They were being felicitated before a huge gathering of farmers by the IRRI Director General, Dr. Robert Zeigler, for their contribution to the local community in adoption of new technology. These two tribal women farmers of Mayurbhanj district have shown tremendous guts and effort to showcase their expertise in the male dominating farming community. They are the new age women farmers having expertise in modern agricultural technology where many male farmers have not been exposed into.

Keeping in view of the International Women's Day on March 8, CSISA Odisha Hub organized an event for celebrating the day with women members of the farming community in a tribal village called Champapal in Kaptipada, block of the district of Mayurbhanj.  The event was organized in view of the visit of Dr. Zeigler to areas of intervention under CSISA (Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia) and STRASA (Stress Tolerant Rice in Africa and South Asia) project in different districts of Odisha. He was accompanied by Dr. Ismail Abdelbagi, Program leader of STRASA, Dr. J.K Ladha, IRRI India Office Representative; Dr. U.S Singh, Coordinator, South Asia, STRASA; Dr. Manzoor Hussain Dar, Senior Associate Scientist, STRASA and Dr. C.M Khanda, Hub Manager, CSISA Odisha.

Champapal village has witnessed a successful community adoption of improved agricultural technologies like mechanical transplanting of paddy under puddled and non-puddled condition. The women farmers of the village contributed towards adoption and sustenance of improved technology like mat type nursery bed preparation of rice. The International Women’s Day was organized to celebrate their success and acknowledge the involvement and contribution of women in this successful adoption of improved technology. Around 200 women farmers and other farmers from Champapal and other villages of Kaptipada block participated in the event.

Starting with a heartiest welcome with traditional music, dance, and sounds, the tribal community including women and men welcomed the DG by showcasing their rich cultural heritage. Following the warm welcome, the DG was accompanied by all the scientists to visit the site where a 60 acres of patch of land were under mechanical transplanting of rice in the village. On interaction with the farmers, he expressed his happiness to see such a successful adoption of technology by the community in a short period.

Following the field visit, he addressed the event by interacting with the women farmers gathered in the meeting. In his address to the women farmer, the DG emphasized the role of women  in all the aspects of society and the emerging role as a woman farmer. He encouraged women to actively participate in farming not as a mere labourer but also in the decision making processes involved in farming which would lead to getting economic benefits and eventually gaining empowerment.

After being felicitated by the DG for their noteworthy participation and contribution in adopting  modern and improved technology like mechanical transplanting in rice, Sabitri Naik and Kainta Bisal shared their experience and hard earned success through CSISA interventions. These women farmers have set an example in the community by fully capacitated in different know-how and practices around mechanical transplanting in rice by involving themselves thoroughly in different processes.

The meeting also involved exhibition of various women friendly tools and equipment that they can easily use in their farms to increase the efficiency and reduce the physical drudgery involved in manual operations. This event witnessed a huge turnout of the women members from the local community which indicated the interest, participation and motivation level among the tribal women farmers who have the huge potential for being capacitated for adoption of various improved technologies. Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-026

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