The NBeG47 Chickpea Variety, Mechanical Harvesting, and Gender in Rural India
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Sandy shen, kavitha kasala, PAdmaja Ravula. (17/2/2020). The NBeG47 Chickpea Variety, Mechanical Harvesting, and Gender in Rural India.
With a growing population of over 1.3 billion people, India will need to intensify agricultural production to meet growing nutritional demands; it is particularly important to increase the productivity of pulse crops, which are a primary source of protein for a largely vegetarian population. Partnering with RARS in Nandyal, ICRISAT introduced the first mechanically harvestable chickpea variety (NBeG47) in 2015 to various southern and central rural Indian villages to alleviate the physical burdens of manual chickpea harvesting (Jayalakshmi, 2016). The results of this study indicate that the shortage of agricultural laborers and subsequent wage increase incentivized farmers to adopt NBeG47 for its mechanically-harvestable characteristics. While ease of harvesting after the introduction of NBeG47 largely improved in three out of the four villages studied, mechanized harvesting was hindered by inadequate training and limited equipment access. As for agricultural laborers’ responsibilities, male laborers took over female laborers’ manual harvesting and threshing responsibilities once those processes were mechanized. Although female laborers lost a source of income from manual chickpea harvesting, they may not have been as disadvantaged as previously thought; instead, female laborers could seek non-agricultural work or earn wages processing other crops such as millet, sorghum, and cotton.