By: Prashant Thorat, Program Officer, West Zone
Rekha does not believe in magic. For her, the new improved sickle which she has recently started using is her magic wand. She is an energetic 36 year old from Kundi village, Barwaha district, Madhya Pradesh. Poverty kept her away from school. Since childhood she spent her days in the field, cultivating the land and tending the animals. Agriculture and Livestock rearing has always been the only source of livelihood and this continued even after her marriage.
However, chopping of fodder with the locally available sickle would take enormous time which required more labour work in an otherwise grueling cultivation process. In an attempt towards reducing the drudgery of the women farmers like Rekha, IGSSS under HDFC Bank’s CSR initiative is implementing ‘Enabling Access to Social and Economical Resource’ (EASE) project. The project as part of its support to women farmers introduced the improved serrated sickle. The community has also been provided the improved sickle at just one rupee per day.
Besides, 363 women were trained on the usage of the new agricultural tools at the Agriculture Resource Centre set up as part of the intervention. An initial assessment has also revealed that usage of improved sickle has led to 43% increase in quantity of fodder or harvest crop cut in comparison to conventional. It was also found that there is 20% reduction in drudgery of women after using this equipment.
Rekha is a happy today. She brightly shares ‘My magic sickle is light in weight, very sharp and cutting of fodder is faster as compared to the local one. It has made my life a little easier. I now use the spare time to talk with my family’.