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Gender and Livelihoods: Women friendly interventions in finger millet cultivation in Nepal
International Food Security
Dialogue – 2014
Enhancing Food Production, Gender Equity and
Nutritional Security in a Changing World
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Apr 30 – May 2, 2014
Rachana Devkota1, Kamal Khadka1, Hom Gartaula2, Asis Shrestha1,
Swikar Karki1 and Pashupati Chaudhary1
Women-friendly interventions in finger
millet cultivation in Nepal
1Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD),
2Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba and International
Development Studies, Menno Simons College, University of Winnipeg,
Correspondence: PO Box 324, Pokhara, Nepal, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
The is part of the CIFSRF supported project “Revalorizing small millets:
Enhancing the food and nutritional security of women and children in rainfed
regions of South Asia”
• Finger millet is 4th important cereal crop grown in Nepal, covering
9% of total cultivated area.
• It is a climate-smart crop with the quality of resilience over
drought, low soil fertility, and fragile and marginal land.
• Finger millet is rich in iron, calcium, zinc, and dietary fiber; good
for a healthy food choice.
• It is a culturally important crop for some ethnic groups.
• Women are important players in agricultural activities (>90%
• Men’s increased entry into non-agricultural activities (within and
outside the country) has put agricultural sector in the hands of
women and elderly.
• Women are less prioritized for agricultural technological
• Neglected technological development, gender biased approach,
and marginal millet cultivation go together.
• Women in agriculture:
• Women are the main players in agriculture
• Men’s entry into non-agricultural activities increases feminization of
• Labour out-migration:
• Movement of an individual or a group of individuals outside of
his/her residence in search of employment.
• Farm mechanization:
• Farm machineries are considered men’s domain, women are less
• Women-friendly mechanization improves gender equality
• Practical and strategic gender needs
Map 1: Country map showing the study area in Nepal
• Action research - RESMISA
• Baseline study comprised a survey among randomly selected 357
households from the three village development committees,
conducted in 2012.
• Focused survey comprised 106 respondents (61 women and 45
• Focus group discussions and individual in-depth interviews.
• IBM SPSS Statistics and Excel computer programs were used for
• Women in agricultural
• Involvement in variety
• Involvement in technological
• Reducing drudgery and workload of
• Introduction of pedal thresher, fork
weeder, line transplanting
• Empowerment through women’s involvement in
• Gender differences in varietal preference:
• Example: Men did not consider the production of straw, while
women did; women preferred non-lodging variety, while men
preferred the grain yield
• Involvement in technological intervention
• Gender differences in the choice of specific machinery or
technology according to their involvement in a particular
pre- and post-harvest agricultural practices
• Example: Women are interested in thresher, men in (mini) tillers
• Introduction of pedal thresher
• Increased participation of male
members in threshing, which was
• Lesser time required for threshing
• Less inert materials in grains
• The initial assumption was to overcome the
problem of power-cut and unavailability of
electric drum thresher.
• There is potential for up scaling pedal
thresher, but there is demand for electricity
operated thresher, as at the current form it
requires two persons
• Needs at least 2 persons to operate
• Pedal still requires some physical
• Less effort, time and labour needed for
• Easy for weeding
• It saves workers from snake and snake bites
• Contributes to less back pain and less injury on
hands while working
• Though farmers shown their interest to take this
technology over, but it needs modification to make it
applicable for upright type weeds.
• Mainly suitable for tailing type weeds, but not upright
• More efficient in other crops such as cauliflower and
• Finger millet have upright type weeds
• Reduces time and labour for weeding
• Easy thinning of finger millet
• Easy fertilizer application
• Improved plant population of maize
• Due to less time and labour
required, there is potential for
• Due to larger spacing, there is
high weed infestation
• Should acknowledge women’s role in agriculture
• Gender sensitive farm mechanization policy
• Gender-sensitive intervention identifies specific gender needs
• helps develop technologies that address the problems specific to men and
• Participation in technology development increases women’s role in
agricultural decision making.
• Agricultural decision making can lead to household decision-making that
ultimately leads to women’s empowerment