Contemporary Ergonomics 2001

By Margaret A. Hanson | Go to book overview

SCALING UP SMALLHOLDER FARMING TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA

Tahseen Jafry

International Development Group, Silsoe Research Institute, Wrest Park,
Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HS
tahseen.jafry@bbsrc.ac.uk

Ergonomics interventions have contributed to poverty alleviation through the introduction of alternative equipment and practices to the rural poor in the DFID/Government of India Rainfed Farming Project in eastern India. The equipment has been enthusiastically adopted by project villagers to reduce drudgery, accidents and injuries. The equipment includes mouldboard ploughs, paddy threshers, maize shellers, pulse processing equipment, improved stoves, handcarts (for women) and seed storage bins. Over 3 years, there has been firm evidence that interventions have been adopted and are being utilised successfully.

Against this background, there is the potential for scaling up the successful technologies so that that they reach beyond the villages already benefiting. This paper highlights a possible strategy for a scaling up programme.


Introduction

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of India are co-funding a project on rainfed farming to help poor people move out of poverty. 'The East India Rainfed Farming Project' (EIRFP) focuses on developing a farming systems/holistic approach to the alleviation of poverty. Elements of the farming system being addressed include fish production, irrigation, the role of livestock and seed priming and production. Elements of the holistic approach include ergonomics and social development. The project is located in the eastern plateau of India covering three states-Jharkand (formerly part of Bihar), Orissa and West Bengal.

Ergonomics Assessment in Project Villages

The purpose of the ergonomics activities was to introduce new agricultural tools and working practices, which enhance health, quality of life and productive capacity, especially for rural women. In order to achieve this purpose, an ergonomics needs assessment was conducted. In 1996, a participatory assessment was conducted in 300 villages across Bihar (now Jharkand), Orissa and West Bengal (Jafry 1999). The findings revealed that

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