NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK
A Global Conference on Women in Agriculture has called for ergonomically designed agricultural implements to reduce drudgery of farm women. The three-day conference which began here yesterday is being jointly organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (AAPARI). About 450 participants including researchers, academicians, research and development managers, experts and women innovators from more than 50 foreign countries are attending the conference.
Addressing the conference Smt. Margaret Alva, Governor of Uttarakhand suggested for specially focused capacity building programmes for women in agriculture to refine skills with appropriate technologies. She said, women should be empowered with farm knowledge through distance education, community radio and other effective means. She suggested that laws banning women from performing operations like stone breaking, pulling carts, spraying insecticides, carrying loads on the head etc. must be put in place together with social security and welfare measures.
Highlighting the important role of women in agriculture, Smt. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, said that there is a need to revisit and redesign agriculture education, research and extension policies and programmes. Appreciating the women centered Self-Help Groups (SHGs) she stressed on the need to harness their full potential by channelizing all agricultural support services such as training, extension, information, credit, inputs, and marketing through them.
Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, noted agriculture scientist and Parliamentarian stressed on in-depth analysis of the problems faced by women as well as appropriate follow up actions. He also suggested for creation of a special fund at national level to address gender specific issues.
Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR and Chair-IOC, Prof. Monty Jones, Chair, Global Forum on Agricultural Research, Dr. R. S. Paroda, Executive Secretary, APPARI and Co-Chair, IOC, also addressed the conference.