It might sound ironical, but even the progress in science and technology seems to have helped men much more than women. Or so argue many women farmers of India, who claim that all developments in the field of agriculture have helped men perform their role better while no such technological comforts are provided for women.
Speaking on the sidelines of Morarka Foundation's initiative in Nawalgarh (Rajasthan), many women farmers point out that the age-old bullock ploughs, which men used to ply on the field, have been replaced by tractors. Men used to irrigate the field on their own but now there are modern facilities for irrigation. But there is no such help for sowing or reaping, the traditional areas of work for women. They still work manually without the help of scientific advancements.
Kamal Morarka, president of Morarka Foundation, says, “It is the womenfolk who have to do most of the farming. So, we decided to help them in doing farming independently. We got them registered with the Foundation. In Nawalgarh alone, nearly 25 women farmers have been registered. We have a monthly meeting with them. We tell them about the advance methods of farming and day-to-day advancements. Besides teaching them about newer ways to fight pests and how to use herbal sprays, we also help them in getting certification from the concerned authorities as organic farmers.”
Santosh Saini, one such farmer and a mother of three, says, “I started vegetable farming because of Morarka Foundation. They help me in every way. They even purchase my yield at a rate 10 per cent higher than the prevailing market price and also pick it up from my farm. I employ only women to help me in the fields.”
Bali Devi, another farmer, also had words of praise for the Foundation. She grows cabbage , capsicum, tomato, broccoli and even saffron on her farm.
The men now have nothing to do in these fields as the women get all kinds of help in the form of seeds and sprays. Now , they can go in for other forms of employment. It is beginning to help the men too. Santosh Saini's husband is now a school teacher.