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Economic Valuation of Female Family Labour in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry: A Study in a Prosperous Agricultural Region
The present paper seeks to examine the economic contribution of women of cultivating households in agriculture and allied activities in an agriculturally prosperous region. The paper quantifies the labour time spent by household women in activities related to farming and animal husbandry. It also seeks to measure the economic contribution of women in the household income in monetary terms. The study is based on primary data collected through a survey of 240 farm households belonging to Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat districts located in agriculturally developed western Uttar Pradesh (UP). The study reveals that household women contribute about 20 per cent of agricultural income and 61 per cent of animal husbandry income in farm households. The contribution of female workers in family income was significant in all the farm size categories, though the share of women in family income was found to be negatively correlated with farm size. The study clearly shows that women household members contribute a significant amount of family labour and income in the farm households. It is, therefore, important that these women are treated as workers and their contribution is duly accounted for in national income statistics. Government agencies working in the field of agricultural development should focus on women workers as a special category. They should be provided proper training in agriculture and animal husbandry to improve their efficiency and knowledge. Steps need to be taken to ensure access of rural women to agricultural and livestock extension services and other support mechanisms.
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