Gender analysis of agricultural labor in the mid-hills of Nepal and the implications for the adoption of conservation agriculture.
Because women share much of the burden of agricultural production, it is critical to examine the impact that agricultural innovations will have on the distribution of labor between genders. Conservation agriculture has been identified as an innovation to improve agricultural production in the Mid-hills of Nepal by reducing erosion and increasing soil organic matter. This paper identifies the gendered distribution of agricultural labor in three Chepang tribal villages of central Nepal, in order to estimate the changes in labor required by conservation agriculture interventions, and assess the implications of labor shifts with respect to the potential for adoption of conservation agriculture practices. Three tribal villages in Chepang were surveyed, with the male and female heads for each household questioned separately to assess the labor hours from each gender for cropping activities under conventional and conservation agricultural systems. Field experiments were also conducted to determine labor hours necessary for the adoption of conservation agriculture practices. Conservation agriculture was found to increase women’s share of agricultural labor, with a greater increase for intercropping with conventional tillage than for intercropping and minimal tillage.