Women farmers' put up 9-point demand

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Visakhapatnam, January 5: | Updated: Jan 6 2008, 01:18am hrs
The women farmers have put up a 9-point demand which would form a part of the resolution of the 95th Indian Science Congress which is in progress here in the Andhra University campus in the port city of Visakhapatnam.

The Union minister of state for women and child development, Renuka Chowdhary assured that she would soon call a meeting of major shoe manufacturers and ask them to produce cheap PCV gum shoes for women working in the farms.

This is for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress, that a video conference of women farmers from seven different parts of the country was organized on Saturday by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Women farmers from Moosapet in Andhra Pradesh, Thiruvaiyaru in Tanjavur district in Tamil Nadu, Jeypore in Koraput district in Orissa, Waifad in Wardha district and Yavatmal in Maharashtra, Pokhran in Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan and agriculture scientists based in the MS Swaminathan Foundation in Chennai participated in the video conferencing.

The women farmers demanded their joint ownership over land on records so that they can have access to Kisan Credit Cards and institutional credit and insurance service. New insurance schemes should be launched for women farmers to cover occupational hazards like leptosporosis infection in paddy fields. There should be support services like crches and anganwadis for the children of women farmers at work. Women farmers should have access to quality inputs like seeds, organic and mineral fertilizers, extension services at the right time and at the right place.

Among other demands are facilities for training and capacity building, water security and management, appropriate post-harvest technologies for processing, storage, transportation and marketing of their produces. They have also called assured and remunerative marketing support. They also urged the agricultural universities to develop gender sensitive farm implements and also for facilitating them for taking up activities in livestock, fishery, dairy, forestry and feed and fodder management.