In your view, what is the relation between sustainable soil use, management and conservation (including soil fertility and health) and gender equality?
Reply: In the verse of Prophet Muhmmad SAW (Al Hadith) it is said that Adam was first given the knowledge of agriculture. Eve used to hold seeds of wheat while Adam was spreading the seeds in the field. The soil was so fertile that within hours of sowing they could harvest wheat to meet their daily requirement. So, the role of woman in sustainable soil use, management and conservation is a pre-historical agenda. In South Asian villages woman are engaged in preserving cowdung, farm refuses in a pit. They dry and clean the harvested seeds usually by winowing (blowing) with a handy devise (locally known as Kula).
What are the distinct roles for women, men, boys and girls in sustainable soil management?
Woman’s encourage family members to preserve use the soils properly and keep it healthy for future generation.
Man will decide what to cultivate on which land and all the management decisions in consultation with family members.
Boys and girls will cooperate with their parents in conducting sustainable soil management practices.
What are the main gender-based constraints, including unequal gender relations and discriminatory norms that hinder sustainable soil management and contribute to soil degradation? What practical solutions and approaches could help overcoming such barriers?
Woman and children are usually left behind during decision making processes. This culture should be changed with inclusive approach. Every family member would like to give his/her opinion regarding sustainable soil management issues.
Family farm may be given a cooperative structure each family member having a definite role and capacity to realize that.
How can the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment contribute to sustainable soil management and conservation? Which interventions at policy and project/field level are of utmost priority? What are some potential entry points for success?
Family farms should be given a formal structure- a family business. Each family members should be given a definite role and should be up scaled to perform that role. They would fix their cultural practices incorporating good agricultural practices (GAP).
Policy should be fixed to encourage farm owners to adopt GAP with incentive packages.
Farm products may be given price support if the farm adopt GAP.
Dr. Md. Altaf Hossain