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Indian Government Plans for Women-Friendly Agricultural Equipment.

New Delhi: Women find it difficult to use heavy equipment used for farming. Now it is going to change since the government plans to develop women-friendly equipment to sustain agriculture.

Joint Secretary to Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, R.B. Sinha said "Large numbers of men are migrating in search of jobs. This is due to severe drought and other natural disasters caused by the climate change. These men are leaving behind women who cannot cultivate the land as most of the equipment used for farming are heavy and meant for men."

He also said that, the capacity of women has to be enhanced to sustain agriculture in the country in view of demographic and socio-economic changes due to climate change in rural areas. The government will provide subsidies on the women-friendly agriculture equipment to encourage its use.

The event was organised jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Delhi-based IEG.

To innovate women-friendly agriculture equipment, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and Mechanisation development division of the agriculture ministry are working together. To help small and marginal farmers, mostly women, the work has started to innovate women-friendly equipment and techniques.

Experts have repeatedly said that men are migrating from the rural areas due to climate change. According to ICIMOD, majority of people in the Himalayan region live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Climate change, population growth, rural-urban migration and other socio-economic changes have impacted agriculture.

The government has now stepped in to ensure that even if men migrate, women in the rural areas take up agriculture. The focus is on these women whose hard work will drive this sector in the future.