Why SRI4Women?

Given the sheer number of women involved in growing the global rice crop and the much overlooked issue of women’s health in rice production and its implications for current and future food security, as well as for the stability of the rural sector and prospects for women’s advancement, we believe it’s critical to shed light on this important topic.

The objective of SRI4Women is to document and communicate the many ways in which women’s lives can be improved through adoption of SRI and SCI through policy interventions and enhancing farmer-to-farmer knowledge, so promoting its uptake across the globe.

Much of SRI4Women’s work is focused on the physical impacts on women’s bodies of conventional rice growing [3] and the ways in which SRI goes a long way to reducing a whole array of physical problems encountered by women rice growers.

Policy Considerations

Enhancing women’s health as well as labour productivity is a crucial production issue. Agriculture and health policy needs to acknowledge this and be revised accordingly. Assessments of current and future agriculture development programmes should factor in their impact on acute and chronic ailments, injury, health costs, and days lost to illness that undermine women’s productivity and income potential. Any modifications in rice cultivation that reduce women’s workload and exposure to parasitic infestation and musculoskeletal disorders deserve systematic investigation, especially if those modifications also offer other benefits such as resistance to adverse climate stresses.

It is clear that the adoption of SRI goes a long way to reducing the adverse health effects suffered by women rice growers and also improves food security due to higher yields. Improving women’s health improves their ability to work and reduces strains on the women, their households and their finances. Support for SRI at a policy level will help with extending the knowledge involved in this methodology. Furthermore, such support can help researchers to gather information from farmers on how to improve SRI techniques and understand how it can be applied in a variety of different agro-ecological areas and soil types. Support for further research into the ergonomics of mechanical weeders, especially those adapted to women’s bodies, will benefit SRI farmers further.

Farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing

“Women are major participants in the rice growing regions of Asia. In Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, women provide up to half the labour input in rice production.” In India and Bangladesh, women do as much as 80 per cent of the work. [1]

Khmer women farmers are very hard working and have a hectic work life supporting their family needs, daily household jobs and other agricultural works. [Rice farmer] Sarim is one of those too, and is responsible for feeding her family. Having practiced farming for five years, Sarim was unable to feed her family well and conventional farming consumed a lot of time and labour. 

She experienced her workload being reduced after adapting SRI in her fields. Today, she produces more than 6 tons per hectare by spending less cost on seeds, water, labour, and other resources. In three years span, after adapting SRI, she has watched her sticky rice field grow well with tillers producing many seeds and reduced about 20% of her workload. Today, she is very happy with the results of SRI and able to support basic and other commercial needs of her family. – SRI-LMB Project (http://www.sri-lmb.ait.asia/)

SRI4Women’s work

SRI4Women is a media-based project aimed at bringing the testimonies of women rice farmers to a wider audience so the benefits of SRI can be better understood. See how we work.

 (1) Asia’s Invisible Women Farmers
Background to SRI & Women:
SRI & Women | Why SRI4WomenHealth| Feminisation of Agriculture | Empowerment | Trafficking

More Information:
Look at our individual pages on HealthFood SecurityTraffickingBiodiversity, the Feminisation of Agriculture and Climate Change to learn more about the issues around the System of Rice Intensification and how it benefits women in particular.
Sowing the seeds of gender equality
Boosting women farmers would dramatically cut world hunger – experts
Empowering women farmers to achieve food security and gender equality, Trocaire India, 2015
What is the connection between women, land and the sea in Tamil Nadu?
Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development, FAO, 2010
More Production and Better Livelihoods with Unhealthy, Undernourished and Fatigued Workforce? Rethink, Sabarmatee, Newsreach July-August 2016, Vol 16 No. 4