|Ms Sujata Tamang presenting at the |
3rd World Agroforestry Congress in New Dehli
Sujata recently presented a paper at the high-profile 3rd World Congress on Agroforestry, in the session on 'The Gender Dimensions of Applying Agroforestry Innovation'. She was one of 28 scientists from six partner countries (Ethiopia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Rwanda and Vietnam) that ACIAR sponsored to attend the congress.
She spoke on the feminisation of agriculture in the middle hills of Nepal, describing the changed situation in many rural areas of Nepal that has resulted from 4 million of the country’s males working overseas. For many families this has meant the women left at home now do all the farming, while the men earn money elsewhere. The range of tasks for women has expanded to include those traditionally performed by men, such as ploughing, as well as traditional women’s work such as planting crops.
This beautiful painting by a 12-year-old Indian girl
won first prize in an art competition at the congress,
for capturing the issues associated with trees in
Sujata pointed out that many of the current agricultural technologies are not women-friendly and that there is not enough labour to complete all the agricultural tasks. As a result, in many regions, up to 30% of farming land is now under-utilised, with either no crops being planted on it or a reduction from three rice crops to only one per year. This in turn means that many communities now face increased food insecurity in terms of local production, even though families may have more income (from remittances) to buy food.
In her current project, Sujata is investigating ways to enhance the effectiveness of community forestry user groups. She is also looking at innovative approaches to productively use the under-utilised agricultural land. Her efforts will help enhance people’s livelihoods and food security in rural Nepal.
Attending the congress gave Sujata the opportunity to present her work to a global audience, gain new knowledge of agroforestry research around the world, and join a network of scientists from other countries who are also working on ACIAR-funded agroforestry research.
By Tony Bartlett, ACIAR's Forestry research program manager
ACIAR project FST/2011/076 Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal
Sujata’s paper was jointly authored with two other ACIAR project researchers, Dr Krishna Shrestha and Dr Krishna Paudel.