Maharashtra: Earnings of woman farmers dipped more than normal during lockdown, finds survey

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By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: June 20, 2020 12:01:40 am

woman farmers, Maharashtra lockdown, Coronavirus outberek, Maharashtra news, Indian express news Conducted in April, the survey saw the participation of 946 woman farmers spread across 17 districts of the state. Close to 25 organisations took part in the survey conducted through a mobile app. (Representational)

The Covid-19 outbreak and a countrywide lockdown imposed as a result, have brought to light the problems woman farmers are facing with regard to access to market and prices. A survey conducted by Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch (MKAAM) during the lockdown period showed that earnings of woman farmers dipped more than normal. What is more worrisome is that the survey also pointed that food consumption dipped in their families during the lockdown.

Conducted in April, the survey saw the participation of 946 woman farmers spread across 17 districts of the state. Close to 25 organisations took part in the survey conducted through a mobile app. The survey included farmers’ widows, whose husbands had committed suicide. It also included landless agriculture labourers with majority of the farmers sustaining on non-irrigated and rain-fed fields. Around 95 per cent of the women had their names on ration cards.

According to the survey, woman farmers have complained about their earnings dipping more than usual. Seema Kulkarni of MKAAM said woman farmers had to depend on the commission agent or private traders operating in the village for selling their produce. This, Kulkarni and others said, was mostly due the “malecentric culture” of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC).

While woman farmers, who had their names on ration cards, received regular foodgrains, it was mostly rice and wheat. “Our survey showed that overall food consumption decreased during the lockdown,” Kulkarni said.

Around 50 per cent women took loans from various sources to finance agricultural activities. The survey showed that 35 per cent women took loans from the banks while 26 per cent took loans from private moneylenders.

“Only 28 per cent women have managed to repay their loans. Those who have not been able to (repay their loans) will be facing problems in raising finance for the current kharif season,” she said.

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