by Thelma R Paris1, Abha Singh2 Joyce Luis1, Mahabub Hossain1,Hari Nath Singh2, Sanjay Singh1, Omkar Nath Singh2
1International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.
2Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology (NDUAT), India
Some historians of agriculture believe that women were the first to domesticate crop plants and thereby initiated the art and science of farming. While men went out hunting, women started gathering seeds from the native flora and began cultivating those of use as food, feed, fodder, fiber, and fuel. Women traditionally were seed selectors. Even today, this tradition continues in many parts of the developing world (Swaminathan 1985). However, there are fears that the Green Revolution with the introduction of new varieties will totally take away women’s traditional responsibility of seed conservation (Shiva 1988). In low input farming systems, women traditionally were the managers of germplasm (Satheesh 1996). But, modern practices have pushed seed into a market economy outside the village community, and have displaced women from their original role. Women farmers should be included whenever possible in germplasm enhancement and conservation programs, particularly in unfavorable rainfed lowland environments where they are the principal users of rice products and byproducts.
Encouraging women farmers to participate in the process of germplasm enhancement and
conservation is important for achieving positive impact on poor rice farming families in rainfed environments. Household food security (and child food security) is strongly linked to women’s access to income-generating technologies. Including women in the early stages of technology design ensures that new technologies can be adopted rapidly (CIAT 1997).
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