Title : Drudgery reduction through ergonomic evaluation of women farm workers by using improved tool during stalk harvesting of maize crop
Women play a major and crucial role in doing the agricultural operations. The women workers in Udaipur district mostly uses locally made sickle for doing stalk harvesting operation in maize crop. This study was conducted in 2019-20 at instructional Farm, CTAE, Udaipur with ten women farm workers during the manual stalk harvesting operation by using locally made sickle and Scythe. The main objective of the study was to investigate the most drudgery prone tool and to recommend the proper tool for doing stalk harvesting operation in maize crop. Use of proper tools not only reduce the drudgery but also improves the operating efficiency along with the comfort, besides improving the productivity of the women farm workers in doing the operation. In view of this, an effort has been made to assess the physical and physiological parameters of women farm workers who are using local sickle along with the scythe for doing stalk harvesting operation in maize crop. The whole study was conducted on ten female farm workers identified from the population of workers in the age group of 18 to 45 years. During the experiment, the average working heart rate, Energy expenditure rate, Oxygen consumption rate, cardiac cost of work of women farm workers using local sickle was 105.55 beats/min, 11.93 kJ/min, 0.573 l/min, 17.55 beats/m2 and for scythe 124.07 beats/min, 14.83 kJ/min, 0.72 l/min, 14.62 beats/m2.The overall discomfort rate at the end of the work for local and serrated sickle was 7.05 and 6.06. The reduction of drudgery by using scythe over local sickle was found to be 16.69%. The rating of perceived exertion given by the female farm workers at the end of the work was found to be less for scythe i.e., 3.3 and for local sickle, it was 4.2.
Take Away Notes:
Research studies work on women’s role noticeably concerning rural women in stalk harvesting are scarce. In terms of research, very few studies pertaining to women participation in stalk harvesting activities have been carried out in India, in particularly Udaipur district. Keeping in view the dearth of data regarding women participation in stalk harvesting activities, the study in hand is initiated to fill these gaps.
The study would modify the policy makers to prepare plans, which might address women’s issues and develop projects/schemes wherever the hidden potential may well be utilized totally to develop the economy. As for the choice of the rural areas of agricultural areas of Udaipur for this study is concerned, women do participate in in stalk harvesting activities here and it is easily accessible for the researcher. Women farm workers can be able to do stalk harvesting of maize crop after appropriate training.