Potential of climate-smart agriculture in reducing women farmers’ drudgery in high climatic risk areas
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Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has a significant role to play in reducing the gender gap in labor burden for women in agriculture. A targeted approach to address this gap can be useful in developing a women-responsive climatic risk management plan focused on reducing their labor burden in agriculture, especially in areas with high climate risks. The paper therefore presents a top-down approach to identify potential labor-saving CSA technologies for women farmers in areas facing high climate risks. It involves mapping women in agriculture, climate risks, and poverty hotspots and entails understanding the role of women in agricultural activities to identify the suitable CSA options for reducing the levels of labor drudgery. The study is illustrated for Nepal where feminization of agriculture is rapidly increasing, a high level of climatic risks persists, and adaptive capacity to climate change is very low, especially among women in agriculture. Results are presented for two hotspot districts, Rupandehi and Chitwan. Household socioeconomic characteristics were found to play a major role in women's labor contribution in different crop production activities. Discussions with farmers provided a list of more than 15 CSA interventions with labor reduction as well as yield-improving potential. Accordingly, considering the local crop, agro-climate, and social conditions, and women's participation in different agricultural activities, CSA technologies and practices such as direct seeded rice (zero tillage and low tillage using machine), green manuring (GM), laser land leveling (LLL), and system of rice intensification (SRI) were found to potentially reduce women's drudgery in agriculture along with improvement in productivity and farm income.
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