The word ‘drudgery’ is becoming increasingly used in connection with work related to agriculture, especially in the case of women. Farmers and farm scientists alike agree that a large portion of agriculture labour is not possible without women, and these activities are usually back-breaking for them, in the literal sense.

Since it is mostly work that involves standing for a long time, these activities get classified as ‘drudgery’.

To make work easier for women, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University is developing new technologies and also equipment / machinery. But the university rues that most of the women are not interested in learning about these, and even those who are aware of these technology / machinery, are not keen to use them. They prefer to follow the conventional method of cultivation.

To make these women-friendly measures reach the farm women, TNAU is using various methods.

Winter school

The Agricultural Machinery Research Centre of the university is organising a 21-day winter school on ‘Drudgery Reduction Technologies Useful for Farm Women and Farm Workers’ for agricultural scientists who are involved in research and extension work. Nearly 25 scientists from nine states are participating.

According to Training Co-ordinator and Head of the Centre B. Sridhar, gender friendliness was being focused in the designing of farm implements and machinery. Since most of the farm work was also being done by women, there was a need to help farm women by mechanising farm operations. The Centre has developed women-friendly cono weeder, drum seeder, coconut tree climber, bunch harvesting stand, etc., to make sowing, weeding, harvesting, etc., easier for women.

“The winter school is to equip these scientists with the technology and machinery available to reduce drudgery in farm work being done by women. They will go to their respective states and spread the awareness and also motivate women to do away with the conventional methods and use technology. The school includes classes, visits to various industries manufacturing such machinery, and also demonstration of machinery in the wet lands of the university,” he said.